Pat Miletich accomplished everything a professional fighter could want from a career in mixed martial arts. After the respected former Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight titleholder stopped competing on a full-time basis in 2002, he remained a fixture in the sport as a world-class trainer of champions and a busy broadcast analyst. On Jan. 6, Miletich joined thousands of like-minded Americans at the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington D.C. The 55-year-old retired fighter maintains he was not among the group of rioters who stormed the United States Capitol, yet two months later the impact of his presence on the grounds lingers after photos emerged of him mingling with members of far-right extremist groups. Miletich said during the first week of March he was contacted by FBI agents who were interested in his recollection of an infamous day that soon cost the Iowan his color commentary duties with the Legacy Fighting Alliance.
In Part 2 of an expansive interview that covered the events of Jan. 6, Miletich continued to shed light on why he views the world the way he does and offered his thoughts on the media’s influence, censorship and gun control, among other topics.
Gross: I want to rein it back in here. Have you always been of the mind to question what was happening in the world? Was it something that came to you later in life? Where did this ability that you believe you have to decipher right from wrong, fact from fiction, parse out bulls--- and understand, as you understand it, the real situation. Were you like this when you were UFC champion?
Miletich: I can tell you this, when I was 5 years old in 1971, when [President Richard] Nixon took us off the gold standard, I was down on the farm with my mom in southern Iowa. And I was rustled out of bed at God knows what time it was. It was still dark. We drove into town, and we stood in front of the Albia Farmers National Bank. And as the morning went on and the sun was coming up, I don’t know how many hundreds of families came in line behind us, but we were the first ones in line, Josh. My grandmother got $98,000 in cash out of the Albia Farmers National Bank that morning. A lot of banks went insolvent because Nixon took us off the gold standard and onto the petrodollar, right? For me, I think something happened that morning. I was asking questions and didn’t understand why we were there. I just knew that grandma had to get her money out of the bank and there were financial troubles coming for the country. So I was a little kid, sitting on the living room floor, watching Walter Cronkite, paying attention to the news, paying attention to what was going on overseas and wars and things like that. I was just always very interested in that and interested in history. I’m curious. I’m a guy as you go through and learn the Gulf of Tonkin never happened, which cost a million Vietnamese and 58,000 American soldiers their lives. Let’s talk about the media pushing the weapons of mass destruction, all because of war. That’s the thing. The Tuskegee Experiment. Tens of thousands of black Americans are given syphilis and studied for 40 years for syphilis that goes untreated. That’s why I don’t trust my government.
Gross: There’s no question that the words and actions of an administration have huge influence and basically direct the course of our lives for certain periods of time. Do you hold the Trump administration or Donald Trump responsible at all for the misinformation or disinformation that seems to exist? Many people have pointed to him as the perpetrator of a Big Lie. I certainly subscribe to that. Do you have any sense that that is accurate, or do you see it differently?
Miletich: Look, BlackRock financial was running our Federal Reserve and Treasury and still is as far as I know. That’s a firm with trillions of dollars investment from Chinese individuals and with Chinese officials and companies. We’re talking trillions. [Treasury Secretary Steven] Mnuchin and others surrounding Trump told me, more than likely, while some held out hope and many still do, that Trump was the guy he said he was. I don’t trust that. I do not. And certainly, now that they’ve brought in a guy that doesn’t even know his f---ing name, it’s even scarier, right?
Gross: I think we have different opinions on President Biden, but I hear what you’re saying.
Miletich: Which part? If you don’t vote for him, you’re not black?
Gross: Look, I’m not here to defend any person. You’re a politician? You’re still a man or a woman. You’re a human being.
Miletich: How am I offending anybody by repeating what Joe Biden’s quote was?
Gross: I don't know, did you?
Miletich: That’s a Joe Biden quote.
Gross: And you offended people by saying that?
Miletich: By repeating what Joe Biden says? Well, if it does, look in the mirror and see what the problem is with Biden. Let’s be honest. Joe Biden wasn’t the guy that wanted black kids going to school with his kids, if you remember right.
Gross: Eh, I think a lot of that gets twisted and convoluted. It’s not so simple. Joe Biden is not a man who had an easy time with words, I’ll tell you that.
Miletich: You can’t convolute or misconstrue or misunderstand a guy who says he doesn’t want black kids in school with his kids because it would be a racial jungle. That’s his quote. There’s no misinterpretation there. He’s a f---ing racist.
Gross: For a racist, he has many more people of color and backgrounds of diversity than Donald Trump ever had in his administration.
Miletich: I wouldn’t go that far.
Gross: I would. I think it’s pretty clear. If I can find a way home here. We still are Americans. Is there a common bond, Pat? Is there anything you feel can bring people together regardless of their political viewpoint, or are we past the point of no return in your estimation?
Miletich: Look, I think that half the country believes that Donald Trump was our savior, which he wasn’t.
Gross: A third of the country believes that.
Miletich: He had 80 million votes easy. In the end, if everyone keeps believing in the media, we’ll keep being divided. Instead of walking out and shaking our neighbor’s hand and saying hello to people, if people keep watching and believing the media, we’re absolutely going to stay divided.
Gross: You solely put this on the media, but politicians on both sides inflame people. Clearly, we’ve seen that inflamed rhetoric turn into inflamed action. You just put this on the media. That seems where most of your focus is: It’s the media’s fault. Is that accurate?
Miletich: Well, I just had a good friend who was the No. 1 anchor in Phoenix news for over 20 years resign her job. In no less terms, she flat out said she can no longer do this job anymore because what she was reading off a teleprompter she knew was untrue. She was done doing it, done dividing the American people and done placing fear-based conditioning in peoples’ hearts and minds. Those were her exact words. She was the most successful broadcast anchor in the Phoenix area. She walked away from it after saying everything she’s been reading is untruthful and she’s sick of it.
Gross: You sent me that video. She was a local Fox anchor, right?
Miletich: Yes. All I’m saying is we’ve proven media to be inaccurate over and over and over again. There’s a reason why my podcast has shot past—on iTunes and many other platforms—every CNN radio show, almost every Fox radio show, George Stephanopoulos on ABC and numerous others. We’re burying them in the ratings because finally people went “these guys have been right over and over and over again.” In the past six years, everything we’ve said has happened. I don’t know how you argue with a track record like that, because a year out from this lockdown happening, we were right. We were correct when we were called lunatics before Trump was even in office [when we claimed] that we were funding ISIS. Absolutely were. So at some point people have to go, “OK, the truth sucks. The truth sucks, but it doesn’t change how you feel about me.”
Gross: How can people talk to one another? I mean you and I clearly have different perspectives and come from different places. I try to be open and understanding, but if I feel like something I have seen leads me to believe it’s a bunch of bulls---, I regard it as a bunch of bulls---. How can people have competing viewpoints, almost to the point where politically they are “enemies,” which I hate, but there’s a lot of people who use that rhetoric, how can they have a dialogue?
Miletich: How about this? By having enough intellect and common sense to say if I support someone else being silenced, no matter how they feel—and I’m not talking about people like Madonna who talk about burning down the White House, which is violence rhetoric—somebody who has a viewpoint and is saying to themselves, “OK, I’m smart enough to see that while I don’t agree with what that person says, they should not be silenced because by me agreeing with someone else having their First Amendment rights taken from them.” I’m basically taking it from myself and my own family. Just that as a beginning of understanding that concept, that anyone’s First Amendment right being taken is my own First Amendment right being taken, as well.
Gross: There’s a lot of truth in that. I will say, though, that I have very little interest in listening to Nazis and fascists. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have a right to speak.
Miletich: But in history who are the ones burning the books and silencing others? And what side is doing that now?
Gross: I don’t know what you mean.
Miletich: You don’t find me out to cancel anybody. Which group of people are silencing the others right now? Whose group is banning Dr. Seuss books? But [WAP] is the most famous song this year. Which groups are doing that? I can tell you it’s not the people who believe in the Constitution.
Gross: There are many school districts across the country, including in the Bible Belt, that ban books because they didn’t like the content. I think there are forces on both sides that want to restrict, and the common fight is to fight that restriction, understand it and work through it based on ideas that founded our Constitutional Republic. But to act like there is only one side that monitors people’s thoughts or actions is inaccurate.
Miletich: Well, here’s the thing. I just had a friend banned from Facebook for 30 days for quoting [Joseph] Goebbels.
Gross: We’re living in a time unlike any other. The internet is a completely different idea and the effect of the internet on manipulating people is misunderstood or not understood at all yet. We’re living through something no one else has ever lived through. I think there are a lot of questions about the effect of the internet, what the real-world effects are, what real free speech means in a world where the internet exists. I think we’re living through things people don’t have answers for.
Miletich: Well, I’ll tell you this. I’m having a server built for my podcast so they can’t. Look, we got demonetized from YouTube very early on—very early on—because we were not holding back what was really going on. So we are in the process of having our own server built so we can have truly free interaction with people on the internet, on our own server, and host numerous podcasts where people are talking freely about different subject matter that’s very important with what we’re living in. In no way shape or form should I have to have a server built, but I do.
Gross: Isn’t this capitalism? Aren’t these private businesses determining who gets to use their platform and who doesn’t?
Miletich: Yeah, but at what point do they allow somebody like Madonna threatening to kill the President and burn down the White House? And then somebody quotes Joseph Goebbels, and he gets kicked off the internet.
Gross: It’s very difficult. I think we’re living through a confused and dangerous time. I think Madonna’s comments are ridiculous. Just like Keith Olberman shouldn’t say that Texans shouldn’t get vaccines because the governor lifted the mask mandate. It’s stupid. There’s this inflaming rhetoric on all sides that doesn’t help anyone, but bringing this back to why you and I are chatting today, there was an assault on our Capitol on Jan. 6. Yes, there weren’t tanks and guns, but there was an assault on the Capitol. I’d never seen anything like that in my life. It really, really bothered me.
Miletich: All you had to do was look a couple years earlier when the Capitol was taken over by another group of people. You can go look at that, and then you can go and look at the group who invaded the Supreme Court not long ago during [John] Kavanagh’s hearings. We can talk about whether or not there was an actual assault on the Capitol, because all I saw from the footage was people walking orderly through the velvet ropes towards the Chamber.
Gross: Pat. Come on.
Miletich: I’m not saying it was right. Nobody should have gone in the building.
Gross: There was violence. Did you watch any of the second impeachment trial?
Miletich: That’s a non-starter. They’re trying to impeach a guy who wasn’t even in office.
Gross: No, that’s a different conversation. People much smarter constitutionally than you or I say it’s totally fine. I will tell you, though, there is no question that there were elements of Jan. 6 that were so far from peaceful, on the other end of the spectrum entirely, that it was incredibly scary. One of the reasons that you received so much criticism is that you were seen standing in a photo with Proud Boys members. In some circles, the hand sign seen in the photos means White Power.
Miletich: Here’s the thing. There’s a lot of athletes out there who have taken a lot of pictures with people just like me. I don’t do background checks on people. They say, ‘Hey, Pat Miletich, can I get a picture with you?’ I take a picture with them. I can’t control what other people think, and, frankly, I don’t give a f---. I literally don’t give a f---. My track record in my life, in terms of taking care of other people, ask how many—it doesn’t matter what color they were—white kids, black kids or brown kids that I helped get into televised careers. Go ask all of those 95 kids that I helped, how much money I took out of their fight purses. I didn’t take a f---ing dime. I didn’t care to take a dime. I just saw kids that needed help. It didn’t matter what color they were, so that’s the thing. My track record of my involvement in the sport speaks for itself. I don’t need to sit there and say, ‘I’m not a racist. I’m not a racist. I’m not a racist.’ I don’t give a f--- what people think. I can’t. The guy who wrote the article and thought he’d make his name by doing something mean to Pat Miletich, he ruined his own f---ing reputation.
Gross: I’ve known you for a long time, Pat, and I’ve been around a lot of people during my time covering mixed martial arts. I’ve encountered people who were racist. I never encountered anything like that with you, so I’m saying that for the record. And I know you’ve worked with a lot of people regardless of race. I never was under the impression that that was an issue for you.
Miletich: When you train with people every day and beat the s--- out of each other and you cry and you get hurt and you help each other and you’re doing endurance drills and trying to help people through it and running hills together, you learn the character of a human being, just their spirit. You just learn what kind of person they are, and that’s all based on the human being. It has nothing to do with anything else. Mixed martial arts is such a harsh sport that there is no room or time for any thoughts of what a guy eats for dinner or what religion he is. You don’t care. You learn to love people by how hard they work.
Gross: But do you accept that for some people, regardless of how hard a person is working or whatever they show of their character, that it’s not going to matter because they’re black?
Miletich: Well, you can’t pick out a specific color.
Gross: I said “black,” but I could have used any number of minority or ethnic groups you want, Jewish or whatever.
Miletich: From my mind, from my travels, I had one racist remark spewed out of somebody’s mouth around me, and that happened to be a person I was working with at Showtime Sports. Now, that person—I won’t mention [their name] because I’m not into cancel culture—is a f---ing self-avowed hardcore leftist. In the middle of what we were doing, before a show, the guy blurted out a f---ing N-word. All I did was look at him and go, “Let’s get something straight. Don’t ever f---ing use that word around me again.” I pointed out to him that my children had never heard that word and never hear that word in my f---ing house, so don’t say it around me ever again. He knew I was pissed. And that’s the truth. That word and racist s--- never came up in my house. We never talked like that. And my kids show that by who they hang out with, which is a very diverse group of people. They don’t give a f--- what color somebody is, and nobody ever should.
(Note: Miletich worked for Showtime Sports from 2009 to 2012. Showtime, through a representative, declined to comment on Miletich’s allegation.)
Gross: I agree but there are people who do, and quite a few of them—if you believe what the FBI says and if you believe what the authorities say—were there on Jan. 6. You got no vibe of that?
Miletich: None of that. The only group I’d ever heard that was remotely racist was the Proud Boys because they say they’re pro-white. Whatever. I don’t know any of them personally. Joe Biggs, who I guess became part of that group, a former Army guy, we had on my show to talk about the death of Michael Hastings, who was the writer for Rolling Stone. You remember Michael Hastings death?
Gross: He died right next to where I live, actually.
Miletich: Very suspicious, because from what I was told by numerous people we talked to, Michael Hastings drove like an 80-year-old grandma. Suddenly, he’s doing 120 and veering into a tree. Whatever, that’s neither here nor there, but that’s the only way I knew Joe Biggs. I didn’t see anything racist. There were no racial slurs. There was none of that. There was a diversified crowd. Yes, it was mainly white people, but there were a lot of black people, a lot of Latino people. A guy from Colombia was there with me. It was a variety of people. There was no racism going on at all. Literally, I’m telling you, literally, it was a love fest. The overblown idea that somehow white supremacy extremists are the biggest terroristic threat to this nation, you know, the only [time] that ever happens is if the government decides to start taking everyone’s guns. The Second Amendment is only useful when that happens, right?
Gross: I don’t have much of a comment on that.
Miletich: We know the history of what happens when citizens’ guns are taken by socialist and communist regimes. Generally, a pretty major slaughter happens.
Gross: There’s a gun for every person in this country. Probably more.
Miletich: I think that’s an amazing thing, Josh. I think there should be more guns.
Gross: I’m not making a comment either way. I’m just saying the idea that anyone is going to come take them seems so far-fetched to me that I can’t even comprehend it considering the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
Miletich: They don’t need to even take them. They just need to tax them so heavily that you can’t afford to have ’em.
Gross: Well, there’s a s--- ton of them out there already, so you got them. Let’s try to close this in a way that brings home the point of the conversation. You clearly have your view of the world that you believe is informed by facts. And a lot of people will hear your view of the world and feel like that doesn’t line up with what I understand the world to be like. So there’s a disconnect. We’ve already discussed the idea of how people who are disconnected in this way can actually communicate and come together for some common purpose.
Miletich: I’ll say this then. It is my hope and my wish that the citizens of this country start understanding that the founding documents were written to restrain the government, not take the rights of their fellow citizens and themselves. That’s my wish.
Gross: They should be teaching that to kids in the fifth grade, because that’s fact. The Constitution restrains the government from what it can do. It’s not an assignment of rights to us. We’re born with these rights.
Miletich: If people were awake, then the Constitution would be able to do that, but so many millions of people are asleep at the wheel right now as citizens that they simply don’t understand that that was the concept. So that’s my wish for people, to understand that those documents were to keep the government at bay, to keep it from abusing us. And right now, that’s not the case.
Gross: I’ll close with this. Your experience over the last two months, has it changed how you feel like you want to express yourself or need to express yourself? Or will you continue to say whatever you believe to be true, regardless of any potential consequences that may exist? We’re all living on a bunch of slippery slopes. There are so many of those around us right now, it’s very difficult.
Miletich: I will always speak what I believe is the truth. My thing is that I would hope that people would learn a lesson about this cancel culture, because it’s coming for you because they’re going to start splitting hairs. Turn off your TV. Quit listening to the media. And smile at your neighbors. Citizens need to come together on this and stop listening to the media that divides us.