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Roy Nelson takes a harsh shot at Matt Mitrione after claims of cheating in Bellator tourney bout


Roy Nelson wants back in the Bellator World Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament, ideally for a trilogy matchup against Matt Mitrione.

Nelson (23-15 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) was eliminated from the eight-man tournament, which will determine a new owner for Bellator’s vacant heavyweight title, when he lost a majority decision to Mitrione (13-5 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) at Bellator 194 in February. It was a rematch of a UFC bout from December 2012, which “Big Country” won by first-round TKO.

Although things were largely cordial between Nelson and Mitrione leading up to Bellator 194, a turn in attitude occurred afterward. Mitrione lashed out at Nelson for using illegal tactics to keep top control in the third round, which allowed Nelson to nearly rally for the win.

Mitrione has called Nelson a “cheater,” “dirtbag” and more in the wake of the fight. Nelson has fired back, and he decided to go personal on Mitrione.

“Matt’s a guy that’s always the pot calling the kettle black,” Nelson told MMAjunkie. “I think he’s still upset because he’s cheating on his wife and stuff. That’s all I heard that whole week – was him cheating on his wife. So I think he has a lot of guilt, and he’s got to take his rage out somewhere. But there’s no cheating on my end. I think he’s just upset because in his heart he didn’t really feel like he won. He wasn’t the best fighter that night.”

Nelson’s criticism of the fight outcome may have some credence. Mitrione got the better of the action in the early rounds and avoided taking much punishment through Nelson’s takedowns. The third round was a different story, and Nelson secured top position and battered Mitrione to what was arguably a 10-8 round.

From Nelson’s perspective, the fight should have been even after three rounds, which would have set up a fourth, sudden-victory round. He said he wants the chance to make that happen.

“I want Round 4, so we can go ahead and do that again,” Nelson said. “The worst-case scenario is we should’ve went to a fourth round. That was worst case scenario. (Referee) Dan (Miragliotta) was going to call the fight like three times. I got it in my head because I started having an argument with Dan about how Matt’s not moving and he couldn’t get out. He took a lot of unanswered shots.”

Although a trilogy bout with Mitrione is not currently in the cards, Nelson said he thinks there’s an avenue to get there. He was just booked for a bout with Mirko Cro Cop (36-11-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) at May’s Bellator 200 event, and while it has not technically been labeled a tournament alternate matchup, Nelson said he’s viewing it as such.

Nelson said there are several would-be opponents on his hit list at the moment, but given his harsh comments about Mitrione, it’s clear there’s no fight more personal to him.

“My goal is to beat up Cro Cop and then hopefully beat up Matt again and then get back in the tournament,” Nelson said. “I don’t know what I want more – the tournament or Matt. They’re both good. There’s Cro Cop, and there’s also (Quinton Jackson), who didn’t want to fight. There are so many people that I actually want to fight now.”

For complete coverage of Bellator 194, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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