One surprising bit of news from the weekend was Dana White’s declaration of “disgust” with Matt Mitrione for refusing to step in against Daniel Cormier to replace an injured Frank Mir.
Zuffa, parent company of the UFC and Strikeforce, has been looking for a replacement ever since Mir got injured in training. The fight won’t be under the UFC banner though and so it seems a lot of fighters aren’t interested, especially given that Cormier is a very difficult proposition.
“Yeah, he turned the fight down. It’s f--king insane. It makes no sense to me. I’m a little bummed out by it,” White said on Saturday night. “You don't want big opportunities? I hear you. I get it,. All I can say is, I guess he doesn't want big opportunities. I get it. Duly noted.”
Every time White blasts a fighter, most of the online fan base follow suit and so Mitrione is now enjoying something of a ‘bad guy’ status on the forums. But there are plenty who think he made the right decision and as his interview with Stephanie ‘Crooklyn’ Daniels of Bloody Elbow made clear last night, it wasn’t made arbitrarily.
“First, I want to thank Dana White and Joe Silva for even offering that fight. It was an honor to get that call, and I would love to fight Daniel Cormier, but I'm just not ready right now. He has Olympic level wrestling, and although I have spent a great deal of time working on my wresting, I don't feel it would be my best fight back after such a long layoff,” he says.
“UFC worked hard to get me a fight this year, but my old opponent had visa issues and it caused additional time out of the cage. Wrestling is, by far, my weakest skill. I'm working hard on my wrestling, but it would be a huge weakness against me in a short-notice fight against Cormier.”
At present there is nobody lined up to step in against Cormier although he remains provisionally booked for the November 3 date. Meanwhile, Mitrione and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson have been developing a little beef but nothing looks likely to happen on that front. Mitrione will stay in the heavyweight division and await a new match - but he probably isn’t expecting any favours from the UFC on the matchmaking front.