Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale: Roy Nelson Says Mitrione Made the Fight Personal

Matthew RothFeatured ColumnistDecember 11, 2012

May 26, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Roy Nelson before the fight against Dave Herman (not pictured) during UFC 146 at the MGM Grand Garden event center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Roy Nelson spent an entire season of The Ultimate Fighter preparing mentally to face Shane Carwin. It was a fight that he wanted and one that appeared to be very personal. In fact, Nelson pushed openly for VADA-testing for their fight at The Ultimate Fighter finale in Las Vegas.

But then Shane Carwin suffered a knee injury in training. What was first reported as a minor injury soon became serious enough to force Carwin from the card. It would have been Carwin's first fight in over a year. 

On Monday's conference call, Nelson spoke with media about his upcoming fight Saturday with Matt Mitrione. One of the most interesting aspects of this fight is Nelson's relative silence with out-of-competition drug testing. 

"It wasn't that big of a deal. I asked Matt and it's either a yes-or-no question and that's it. It's not worth kicking a dead horse," Nelson explained. "All I can do is ask once and it's either yes or no. You need to take it or you don't. So far I'm 0-2."

With VADA-style testing such a major talking point leading into the Carwin fight, it's definitely an issue that Nelson appears to want to push. That his peers in MMA don't seem to feel the same way could be met with some raised eyebrows. 

But Nelson won't let himself to lose focus in such an important fighter. He's had to make several adjustments in his training camp as Carwin and Mitrione are not the same fighters. While Carwin is known for his knockout power, Mitrione presents issues as he's a southpaw.

"I think the biggest thing we switched up was Shane and Matt are two different fighters," Nelson said. "One fights southpaw, one fights orthodox so that's a big change. And then the other thing from my understanding Matt chose this fight so I guess it becomes a little big more personal."

I'm not sure if Nelson truly believes it's personal between him and Mitrione, but he sure believes that fans will see how he really was as a coach when the DVD is released. 

It's very common for footage to be left on the cutting-room floor and Nelson wasn't exactly portrayed in the best light during the season. Even while Shane Carwin remained silent during fights and watched his team from the sidelines, Nelson coached his team to victory throughout the seasons. 

And as for his staff? There was many people that were never shown on television, including UFC legend Royce Gracie. But Nelson isn't worried. He expects vindication once fans get to see what really happened while the cameras were rolling.

"You know the one thing about the UFC is that they're a great marketing machine. I think that they're just waiting to sell the DVD. For the DVD it's gonna be Roy Nelson has five Ultimate Fighter winners, three UFC champions, five world champions, and actually having Royce Gracie on there and get behind the scenes footage and buy the DVD now."

Roy Nelson faces Matt Mitrione in the main event of the Ultimate Fighter finale this Saturday on FX.