Matt Mitrione will take on Roy Nelson at the Bellator heavyweight tournament, which would be a rematch of their 2012 UFC bout. Mitrione, who lost by first round TKO, said that then UFC matchmaker Joe Silva lied to him to make him accept the bout.
“Anyone who’s ever listened to me fight or my interviews, knows how much I despise that small cage, and Joe Silva lied to me and told me it’s the big cage so I would take the fight,” Mitrione said at the MMA Hour. “The reason why I don’t like it is because it eliminates all my mobility, it eliminates my evasive action and my offensive footwork.”
“One hundred percent, (he lied). Because they know I won’t take a fight in that small cage. That’s one of the reasons why, I would always tell them, ‘what cage is it in?’, ‘we don’t know what it is yet.’ How can you tell me that’s something you don’t know, when I’m the most mobile heavyweight, and I’m actively saying I don’t want to fight in the small cage? ‘We don’t know what it is until we figure out the venue. We just know the date.’ That’s some bullsh—t man.”
According to ‘Meathead’ he even kicked Silva after losing the contest to Nelson.
“That’s the reason why I kicked him — if you go back and watch the film, I kicked Joe Silva in the stomach right after the fight. I literally threw a bodykick and kicked him in the stomach. He’s like ‘Matt I had gall bladder surgery,’ you shouldn’t have lied to me then.”
Silva, who has since retired from matchmaking duties, responded to Mitrione’s allegations and denied lying to the heavyweight.
“I would not lie about such a thing,” Silva told MMA Fighting. “There’s no reason to. I’ve never heard anyone use the excuse the cage was smaller as to why they lost.
“It’s not impossible they made a mistake shipping the wrong Octagon,” he explained. “It’s not impossible they could have given me the wrong information. I don’t even remember this incident in the first place, there was so much going on. But in a situation like that I would get that information from the people who know and pass it on.
“To say I lied says I did it with intention,” he said. “Even if I knew the dimensions, with everything we had going on, with so many shows and so many fights to make and so many guys falling out, if I was this evil genius, why would I go out of my way to stick it to Matt Mitrione of all things?”
There’s a few things worth noting about this situation.
- Footage from the fight show Silva walk in after the bout to shake hands with Mitrione, before immediately cutting to replay. If the kick happened a few seconds later, it wasn’t shown on the broadcast.
- It may not be the main reason or “excuse” for losing, but mobility and distance management really would be affected if they use the smaller WEC-type of cage — especially for these big heavyweights.
- UFC also generally uses two sizes of cages, and it usually depends on the venue. Smaller venues typically use the smaller Octagon. This Nelson vs Mitrione bout happened in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, which only had an attendance of around 2,500.
- This also means that if the UFC only had a date and not the venue, it would be understandable that they didn’t know what Octagon size they would use just yet. But for what it’s worth, at the time Shane Carwin pulled out due to injury, the event had already been booked for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
Could there have been just a number of honest mistakes and unintended mishaps as Silva said? Or were they scrambling and just saying anything to be able to secure a last minute main event? Also, does it even matter half a decade later, now that Silva isn’t with the UFC and both fighters are with Bellator?
Either way, Mitrione will at least get a chance to get that loss back in the coming months.