During The Ultimate Fighter 10, former pro football-players-turned-fighters Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione became fast friends.
The two competitors didn't have as much experience as some of the other fighters in the show, and—given their similar backgrounds in football—it made all the sense in the world that they would bond while trapped in the house together for six weeks.
Both Schaub and Mitrione made it past the reality show and into the UFC, where they remained friends. While both were competing in the heavyweight division, there was no rule that said they couldn't stay on good terms and even help each other if the work was ever needed.
Their relationship changed dramatically a few months ago, when Schaub and Mitrione were matched up at the time to meet at UFC on Fox 8 in Seattle. When the fight was first announced, Schaub admitted that it would be tough to fight Mitrione, but this was only business. They'd be friends before the fight, and friends again after it was over.
Maybe it was good-natured fun in the beginning, but Mitrione started firing shot after shot at Schaub. He took jabs at his chin, accused him of not engaging with an opponent in a jiu-jitsu match, and called him boring along the way.
This is all after Mitrione tweeted that Schaub looked like 'Adam Sandler f—ked Corky from Life Goes On.'
Schaub only replied once over the course of the Twitter battle, but it was right at Mitrione's wheelhouse when he said 'I might look like Adam Sandler/Corky mix, your wife when we did appearances together sure seemed to like it. How's that going by the way?'.
The response only served to enrage Mitrione, who then went on a long diatribe aimed at Schaub via Twitter.
Their fight at UFC on Fox 8 never ended up happening because Mitrione suffered an injury leading up to the bout, but the promotion quickly moved to reschedule the two heavyweights for UFC 165, which takes place this weekend.
Since that June Twitter altercation, Schaub says that he's had no contact with Mitrione, and doesn’t plan on extending the olive branch any time soon.
"No, still haven't talked to him," Schaub said. "He took it personal and fighting is personal. People think it's fake. Me and Matt because of this don't talk anymore. After the fight is it going to be different? Maybe. I really don't care. I have one objective and that's to beat and destroy Matt Mitrione Sept. 21. That's all I care about.
"As far as my feelings getting hurt or his feelings getting hurt, that's all out the window. Matt's just another opponent."
Many fighters refuse to face friends or teammates because of situations that arise just like the one Schaub had with Mitrione. What starts out as a friendly rivalry soon drops the friend part and just becomes a personal battle.
For his part, Schaub has no regrets about anything he said towards Mitrione. His concern is winning and putting on an exciting performance, and he really doesn't care much about Mitrione's feelings.
"I think he got butt hurt and Matt has a fragile ego," Schaub said. "Listen, if you're going to talk trash you've got to be willing to receive it as well. He just didn't do well with that so we don't talk at all anymore and we'll settle it in the Octagon."
When the fight is over, Schaub will almost certainly shake Mitrione's hand whether he wins or loses, but it's not likely these two heavyweights will ever go back to the way they were before the UFC pitt them against one another in a fight.
Schaub is fine with that scenario—he's not crying himself to sleep at night because he misses Mitrione.
"I have enough friends," Schaub said. "I'm not too worried about people's feelings getting hurt because hyping a fight or something like that is how I make my livelihood. As long as I get the win, I do not care what happens.
"I'll offer him some coffee or a protein shake on me after the fight, but it's up to him where it goes from there."
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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