Saturday night will be the culmination of The Ultimate Fighter's 16th season. Roy Nelson will be taking on Matt Mitrione in the main event on a card that has some excellent match-ups. Mitrione, who stepped in as a late replacement for an injured Shane Carwin, has been noticeably quiet during his preparation to take on the bearded one. I spoke to Nelson last week, who discussed everything from the fight card to his quest to make VADA testing more mainstream within the sport. Here's what he had to say:
Thoughts on all TUF fighters not being featured on the finale
I think what they're trying to do is keep the level of what the UFC is a little higher. If you go into The Ultimate Fighter, and you're just gonna go in there to get just one fight and win ... the premise is to win the whole thing. When I went in, I wanted to win the thing or be cut. You're either going to set out for your goal, or you're not.
Fighting a 'friend'
It's not going to hurt my heart any because I understand that he asked for the fight. The way I look at it, if we were such good friends, I would've gotten a phone call before he actually went to Joe Silva to ask for the fight. We're definitely business acquaintances, and that's why we're going to fight. It goes back to the old saying, be careful what you wish for.
Lack of response from Mitrione on VADA testing proposal
(It should be noted that at the time of this interview, the proposal had been issued for 3 or 4 days) He told me, when we were on the phone, 'Let me look into it', which usually means you either want to look into it or, well, his teammate is Alistair Overeem, so I don't know. To me, it's either a yes or a no. It's not a 'I'll look into it' kind of thing. You're either going to do it or you're not. It's really not that hard.
I haven't heard back from him at all. I'll probably have Jessy (Nelson's wife and manager), follow up next week. Time is of the essence here. I'm just trying to clean up the sport.
Importance of VADA testing becoming an organized, mandatory routine in MMA
It's important for people to know that you're drug-free. Doing the extra steps, that you do on your own, versus doing just what the UFC or the commission asks of you, is giving more back to the fans. It's like putting in that extra round for them.
You get some that think you're trying to pick on people, or take it that you're saying that they use steroids, or basically saying they're guilty. I'm not saying anything other than, 'Let's clean up our sport together.' If you say 'no', then there's a reason why. I'm not here to judge, but you obviously have a reason why you're saying no. It's obvious to fans. Any moron can see that if you don't want to do it, there's a reason. We're trying to take steps forward, and every time someone says 'no', it takes us 20 steps back.
Shane Carwin's fighting future
I have no idea if he'll fight again, but I'm waiting on Roy Nelson/Shane Carwin III to be scheduled [laughs]. We'll settle our differences. I'll be prepared like the first two times, which means I'll be prepared to fight someone else.
Opinions on guys turning down fights
I think what it is, is that fighters have become business people. I actually love what I'm doing. When you're a business person, sometimes you think of it as 'Ah, it's work.' I love what I do, but then on the other end, some guys do this as a living. I don't care if I win or lose, I know I'm going to give 110% and I'm going to hold my head high at the end of the day. In a street fight, I know I'd whoop everybody, because it would be that kind of "crazy rules" fight. I know at the end of the day, I'd win every fight.
Dana White throwing fighters under the bus
That's just Dana. I've been under the bus and ran right over by it a couple times, now. That's just what he does.
You can follow Roy via his Twitter account, @RoyNelsonMMA
I reached out to Roy again, to get an official statement from him regarding Mitrione's lack of participation in VADA testing. Here's what he replied via text message:
It's a simple yes or no and a free test for Matt, which is a win win to clean up our sport. Who doesn't want to be part of something to make our sport better?