When it was announced yesterday that Matt Mitrione would be fighting Brendan Schaub at UFC on Fox 8, many fans were quick to point out that Mitrione's was "suspended" just two weeks ago. And, as pointed out by former Bloody Elbow staffer Mike Fagan, Mitrione's turnaround for the Schaub fight will be the shortest of his career.
It was just a week ago that Dana White said at the UFC on Fox 7 press conference:
"I'm not mad at Mitrione. He did something stupid. He knows he did something stupid. He knows the way he said it, he didn't handle it the right way. He knows he did, so I can respect that. We'll let him know when we decide (how long the suspension will last). He was fined, too – enough to make him call me three times. I bet he'll think. I bet before words come out of his mouth … he's going to go, 'I better not say that. That's not good. That's going to cost me some money.'"
Today, Dana talked about the decision to lift the suspension (via MMA Junkie):
"What does that really mean? In other sports, a suspension means you lose games," White said. "He's not fighting right now, anyway. So we didn't suspend him for three fights, two fights."
"When these kinds of things happen – normally how this works is my Twitter starts blowing up," White said. "I don't watch everything that goes on and hear everything that goes on. So then I start hearing about it, and [the Public Relations department] comes to us and says, 'This guy just did this and this guy just said that,' so I've got to get the whole crew together. We sit down, we look at what was said, and we put together a game plan of what we're going to do."
There are, of course, plenty of times when fighters are given "length of time" suspensions with the intention of keeping them out of the ring and not making money off of fighting for their behavior. These would include suspensions handed down by athletic commissions.
Dana also expanded on why Mitrione only apologized privately to the UFC and not publicly:
"I don't tell anybody to do anything," he said. "If a guy comes out and says something stupid, I don't go to him and say, 'Here's what you're going to do. You're going to apologize, and you're going to do this and that.' You can't make somebody apologize. If I make him do it, it's not real.
"That's literally how I deal with people and how they handle things after they mess up. We're all going to make mistakes. That's normal. But how do you handle yourself after you make the mistake?"
Last night I reached out to the UFC for a statement on why Mitrione's suspension was so short and what the decision making process was for booking him for a fight so soon after announcing he was suspended.
This afternoon they responded that they would provide an "official statement" shortly. This post will be updated at that time with their statement.