Patrick Jay “The Croatian Sensation” Miletich, known as Pat Miletich (Miletic in Croatian), was born March 9, 1968 in Davenport, Iowa. Miletich is the youngest of five siblings and a mixed martial artist (MMA) well known for his fights within the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He is the founder of Miletich Fighting Systems, which trains some of the most talented and popular fighters in MMA, such as former UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia, former UFC Lightweight Champion Jens Pulver, as well as former ICON Sport and Elite XC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler.
Miletich started his MMA training at age 26. Prior to this age, Miletich trained at Nick Tarpein’s School of Martial Arts in Davenport, Iowa where he learned much of what he knows about karate. Miletich was largely influenced in his boxing aspirations by his uncle, Johnny “Miler” Miletich. Johnny Miletich was a member of the U.S. boxing squad at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles and also fought professionally. Pat Miletich trained with coach Alvino Peña at the Davenport Boxing Club. A friend from Chicago who refereed his kickboxing matches got him into a Renzo Gracie seminar. After training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) for a year, the same friend then got him into the Battle of the Masters, a MMA tournament held in Chicago in 1995.
He continued fighting at smaller events and enjoyed success. He was undefeated through 15 fights before losing to Matt Hume. Three fights later Miletich fought in UFC 16 and won the first UFC lightweight tournament. At UFC 17.5: Ultimate Brazil, Miletich defeated Mikey Burnett to become the first UFC lightweight (under 200 lbs) champion. The UFC changed the weight class limits again in 2001, and Miletich became the champion of the new welterweight division.
In his fifth title defense (and first as a welterweight) at UFC 31 he lost to Carlos Newton by submission. This was his first defeat in the UFC. His next fight was a KO win over Shonie Carter at UFC 32. After this fight, Miletich moved up to the middleweight division. This was partly due to encouragement by UFC management and because his teammate, Matt Hughes, defeated Carlos Newton to win the UFC welterweight championship. Miletich returned to fight at his new weight at UFC 36, but quickly lost to Matt Lindland. Miletich decided to take some time away from professional fighting and recover from numerous chronic injuries. Miletich was scheduled to fight Frank Trigg at WFA 3 but pulled out due to injury. He returned in September 2006 to fight Renzo Gracie in an International Fight League (IFL) superfight, and was submitted with a guillotine choke in the first round. Afterwards, he retired again.
Currently, Pat Miletich runs the Miletich Fighting Systems gym in Bettendorf, Iowa. A premier MMA training academy where Miletich has trained and coached 11 UFC world champions. Miletich also coaches the two-time IFL champions, the Quad City Silverbacks. In the first national broadcast on May 21, 2006, his team beat Bas Rutten’s Los Angeles Anacondas 4-1. Miletich returned to MMA action on December 11, 2008, defeating Thomas Denny by knock out.
Miletich holds a third degree black belt in Shuri-ryu karate. He has also trained with Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Sergio Monteiro and was awarded his BJJ black belt by Oswaldo Alves. He is the cousin to Danny Farmer, a former wide receiver for the UCLA Bruins football team who enjoyed a brief career in the NFL.
CHAMPIONSHIPS and ACCOMPLISHMENTS
UFC Welterweight Champion (5 Time Defending)
UFC 16 Lightweight Tournament Champion
Founder of Miletich Fighting Systems (MFS)
Trainer of 11 World Champions and over 70 PPV and TV Fighters
Head Coach of the International Fight League (IFL) Silverbacks
BLOOD IN THE CAGE : Pat Miletich, and the Furious Rise of the UFC
Blood in the Cage is a well written account of Pat Miletich’s rise from an undersized high school football star who loved to fight to becoming an UFC champion and leader of Miletich Fighting Systems. At the same time, Wertheim details the UFC’s evolution from its early ‘human cockfighting’ days to its current status as the undisputed number one mixed martial arts promotion in the world.
Written by L. Jon Wertheim, a noted sports writer who has been a member of the Sports Illustrated staff since 1997. Wertheim has tackled subjects like the women’s tennis tour, basketball, and pool hustling before taking on this MMA project.