NEWARK, N.J. – If recently suspended heavyweight Matt Mitrione (6-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) thinks he’s talking his way into a fight with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (18-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC), he should probably think again.
“I don’t know, man,” UFC President Dana White said following Saturday’s post-UFC 159 press conference. “If I was Mitrione – you know I like Mitrione – if I was Mitrione, I’d be focused on my own weight division. I’d be worried about beating some of the heavyweights out there.”
Mitrione has been very much in the news in recent weeks – and for a variety of reasons. The cycle started at UFC on FUEL TV 9 in Sweden, where he earned a 19-second win over Philip De Fries. But two days later, Mitrione gave a series of transphobic comments pointed at transgender fighter Fallon Fox during an appearance on “The MMA Hour” and was immediately suspended by the promotion.
Ultimately, Mitrione’s suspension didn’t last long, and the company issued him a “significant” fine before booking him for a summer fight just 16 days after he was first placed on suspension. Mitrione has since apologized for his remarks.
During the buildup to Jones’ UFC 159 headliner with Chael Sonnen, he was asked about his thoughts on Mitrione’s comments, at which point the UFC light heavyweight champ declined to hold back, calling the heavyweight a “scumbag.” That instantly drew the attention of Mitrione, who took to Twitter to challenge Jones to a fight and referenced the champ’s 2012 DUI case in the process.
“Last time I spoke, gotNtrouble4 talking bout sum1 using hands2hurt women, guess thats a lot better than Bentleys&Telephone poles,” Mitrione wrote. “Ur a spoiled brat that needs 2b taught a lesson & I’m the guy2do it. Come fight me at hvywgt within 1 year or ur a coward, kid.
“Ok ok ok, I shouldn’t have said coward. You’re not a coward but we’ve got problems to solve & we fight for a living so….1+1= 2.”
After Mitrione’s challenge, Jones went out and dispatched of Sonnen in the opening round. Jones suffered a nasty broke of his toe in the process and will likely be sidelined for a bit. Additionally, it seems likely that an Anderson Silva victory over Chris Weidman at this summer’s UFC 162 event could potentially lead to a blockbuster superfight between “Bones” and “The Spider.”
In short, Mitrione doesn’t seem to be on Jones’ priority list at the moment, and White suggested he should focus more on the fighters in his own division, especially after recent losses to Roy Nelson and Cheick Kongo.
“I wouldn’t be going after the No. 1 guy in the world, you know?” White said. “Try to beat some heavyweights in the top-10. He just fought Roy Nelson, and you saw what happened.”
For complete coverage of UFC 159, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.
(Pictured: Matt Mitrione)