Matt "Meathead" Mitrione recently appeared earlier this month on Ariel Helwani's “The MMA Hour,” and was confronted by Helwani about remarks the UFC heavyweight had made about transgendered fighter Fallon Fox.
“Why do you hate Fallon Fox so much," asked Helwani. "And why do you keep calling she a he?”
“Because she’s not a he. He’s a he,” replied Mitrione. “He’s chromosomally a man. He had a gender change, not a sex change. He’s still a man. He was a man for 31 years. Thirty-one years. That’s a couple years younger than I am. He’s a man. Six years of taking performance de-hancing drugs, you think is going to change all that? That’s ridiculous.
“That is a lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak. And I mean that. Because you lied on your license to beat up women. That’s disgusting. You should be embarrassed yourself.
"And the fact that Florida licensed him because California licensed him or whoever the hell did it, it’s an embarrassment to us as fighters, as a sport, and we all should protest that. The woman that’s fighting him, props to you. I hope you beat his ass, and I hope he gets blackballed and never fights again, because that’s disgusting and I’m appalled by that.”
The UFC quickly released a statement.
"The UFC was appalled by the transphobic comments made by heavyweight Matt Mitrione today in an interview on "the MMA Hour".
"The organization finds Mr Mitrione’s comments offensive and wholly unacceptable and - as a direct result of this significant breach of the UFC’s code of conduct – Mr Mitrione’s UFC contract has been suspended and the incident is being investigated.
"The UFC is a friend and ally of the LGBT community, and expects and requires all 450 of its athletes to treat others with dignity and respect."
In Mitrione's defense, his harshest remarks - "lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak" - were directed not at transgendered individuals in general, but at one trasngendered fighter - Fallon Fox. And his reasoning was unambiguous - "...because you lied on your license to beat up women. That’s disgusting."
At a media event for last week's UFC on FOX 7, UFC president Dana White related that Mitrione had apologised for the remarks, and had been fined.
"He did something stupid," said White. "He knows he did something stupid. He knows the way he said it, he didn't handle it the right way. He knows he did, so I can respect that.
"We'll let him know when we decide (how long the suspension will last). He was fined, too – enough to make him call me three times. I bet he'll think. I bet before words come out of his mouth … he's going to go, 'I better not say that. That's not good. That's going to cost me some money.'"
"From the first day we talked, he handled the whole thing like a man. He said some ignorant comments that made him sound like a complete jackass and a bigot. He knew what he said was wrong."
Now, after the announced investigation, Mitrione's suspension has been lifted, and he is scheduled to fight Brendan Schaub at UFC on FOX 8 at July 27 at Seattle's KeyArena.
As Mitrione's comments were directed at an individual, for conduct he felt was dishonest and dangerous, and were not addressed to any group of people generally, there is not expected to be much outcry that the suspension was so brief.