TUF 16 Finale: Matt Mitrione Steps in to Face Roy Nelson
It was almost an expected disappointment when we learned that Shane Carwin was out due to injury from his TUF 16 Finale match against Roy Nelson. And that’s not just because of the curse of the over-trained fighter which has afflicted the UFC repeatedly throughout the year.
Only as recently as last September I reported that Carwin suffered a minor injury, but at the time we were told the match was still on. But now, with the heavyweight definitely unable to fight on the December 15th card, we’ve been told that Matt Mitrione is stepping up.
Nelson and Mitrione were both contestants on the same series of The Ultimate Fighter: The Heavyweights, and will be reunited for the first time at the finale of the current season in Las Vegas.
This is a rare but much needed case of Mitrione acting like a company man. Two months ago, Dana White said he was “disgusted” with Mitrione’s refusal to step in and fight Daniel Cormier, who is still looking for the final opponent on his Strikeforce contract.
To make matters worse, Mitrione tried to create his own match-up by calling out Rampage Jackson in the division below him, but White gave short shrift to that idea.
It’s never a good idea to anger your boss, especially if you’re a fighter who is coming off a loss and hasn’t fought in a year like Mitrione.
Mitrione knew he was in the doghouse for his antics, and has been at pains to explain why he turned down the Cormier match.
Will stepping up to Nelson be enough to get him on the right side of White?
It isn’t clear whether Mitrione was the first choice. However, with the match just four weeks away, his actions could have saved the event and gone a long way in helping him get back into the UFC’s good books.
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