LAS VEGAS – UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione (6-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) has thus far remained silent in regards to his recent suspension for breaching the UFC’s code of conduct. But with the promotion’s inquiry into the incident complete, Mitrione wants the world to know he’s sorry for the remarks.
“I want to apologize for my hurtful comments about Fallon Fox and a group within our society which, in truth, I know nothing about,” Mitrione told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “I know now there’s an important line between expressing an opinion on a subject and being hurtful and insensitive. I crossed that line by expressing my views in an ugly, rude and inappropriate manner.”
The UFC froze Mitrione’s contract earlier this month for offensive remarks he made about transgender fighter Fallon Fox. He also was fined an undisclosed amount and, according to UFC President Dana White, complained about the hit to his pocketbook.
In the midst of a rant about Fox’s career as a professional MMA fighter, Mitrione called the 37-year-old a “lying, sociopathic freak.”
“Earlier this month, heavyweight competitor Matt Mitrione made offensive and hurtful remarks about an individual from the transgender community during an appearance on the ‘MMA Hour’ broadcast,” UFC Executive Vice President and COO Lawrence Epstein explained. “The UFC immediately suspended Mr. Mitrione from all duties relating to his position as a UFC athlete, pending the results of an investigation.
“As communicated to Mr. Mitrione in the form of a written reprimand, that investigation found he went beyond expressing an honestly held belief and that his comments represented a significant breach of the UFC’s code of conduct. As a result, Mr. Mitrione received a significant monetary penalty.”
UFC officials declined to reveal the amount of Mitrione’s fine. However, multiple sources close to the situation repeatedly addressed the value as “significant.” Mitrione’s pay for his recent UFC on FUEL TV 9 win was not disclosed. This past December, he was paid $12,000 for a loss to Roy Nelson. He would have earned another $12,000 with a win.
Many MMA pundits have taken issue with Mitrione’s short suspension, which lasted just 16 days before he was recently booked for a summer fight with Brendan Schaub. However, as White previously explained, Epstein said the company believed the undisclosed fine was enough of a punishment and that preventing him from another opportunity at a fight purse was simply inappropriate in this situation. In short, the suspension was never meant to offer any punitive recourse but rather to prevent Mitrione from making any public appearances as a UFC fighter while the promotion was still deciding what course to take.
“Mr. Mitrione has expressed genuine contrition for the harm he caused,” Epstein said. “Matt is not a hateful person, and we are confident in his sincerity to make amends.”
UFC officials said they are currently in contact with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to help Mitrione determine how best to work toward repairing his relationship with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. In the meantime, Mitrione said he regrets his choice of words and will ensure that he never again makes the same mistake.
“I know there are people who look up to UFC athletes, and I let them and myself down by setting a very poor example,” Mitrione said. “I also want to apologize to Lorenzo Fertitta, Dana White and everyone associated with the UFC.
“Anyone can say, ‘I’m sorry’ to get themselves out of trouble. That’s not the kind of person I want to be. I am embarrassed I chose to express myself in such a fashion and am looking forward to living up to this apology through my future actions, words and conduct.”
Earlier today, Mitrione took to Twitter to express his displeasure with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones labeling of him as a “scumbag” and challenged “Bones” to move up a division and fight him at heavyweight. Mitrione declined to comment further on those remarks at this time in hopes of keeping the focus on his apology.
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