Matt Mitrione made the wrong kind of waves following his KO win over Phil De Fries at UFC Sweden by blasting transgendered fighter Fallon Fox. The UFC was quick to act, suspending the fighter for violating the UFC’s code of conduct. And then just as quickly, Mitrione was unsuspended 17 days later and scheduled for a fight with fellow TUF Heavyweights alumni Brendan Schaub. That pissed a lot of people off. Will Mitrione’s subsequent apology make things better?
“I want to apologize for my hurtful comments about Fallon Fox and a group within our society which, in truth, I know nothing about,” admitted Mitrione of his mistake. “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.”
“I know there are people who look up to UFC athletes, and I let them and myself down by setting a very poor example,” he added.
The 34-year old was also very clear about his sentiments being genuine rather than a stunt aimed at sweeping the situation under the rug.
“Anyone can say, ‘I’m sorry’ to get themselves out of trouble. That’s not the kind of person I want to be,” said Mitrione. “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.”
It’s pretty clear that the people who think Mitrione deserved his suspension expected that suspension to last a bit longer than two weeks. With the average MMA fighter getting three fights a year, anything shorter than four months doesn’t seem to be a very ‘toothy’ punishment at all. But these people ignore the fine the UFC also levied against Mitrione, which Dana White refused to put a dollar figure on but was “enough make him call me 40 times and ask him not to fine me that much.”
That to me says it was a five figure fine, and that’s enough to make most ultimate fighters stop and think a little next time they’re tempted to use the words ‘disgusting freak’ when talking about sexual minorities. So while the suspension was basically a farce, Matt was still suitably punished enough for me to put my pitchfork down.
(pic by Mark J. Rebilas via USA TODAY)