Mitrione blasts ‘sideways and bogus’ Nelson over alleged cheating
Matt Mitrione made it through the opening round of Bellator’s 2018 heavyweight tournament with a controversial majority decision win over Roy Nelson. The pair were on reasonably good terms heading into the fight, as they had been since being castmembers on 2009’s TUF 10. However, during a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, Mitrione bitterly charged that Nelson cheated during their fight at Bellator 194 on Friday.
Mitrione won Rounds 1 and 2, but Nelson dominated the third, most dramatically holding a mounted crucifix and striking for an extended period. One judge, the respected former fighter Dave Tirelli, called the round a 10-8. If one other judge had as well, the bout would have ended in a majority draw. Mitrione said he had a sweep, but was unable to execute it as Nelson cheated with approximately two minutes left.
“Roy took his right big toe and lifted his foot off the ground and stuck it inside the fence,” charged Mitrione, as transcribed by Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting. “And then for 45 seconds — or 40 seconds or so — inside of that round when he was on top of me punching me or elbowing me, he was cheating. He had all this leverage, because he was pushing off the fence driving into me.”
“For Roy to grandstand, to be like, ‘Oh, I’m full of integrity, I don’t cheat, I don’t steroids or anything else, blah blah blah,’ and then when the fight comes down to it, to say you need to win, because you lost the first two rounds, then you start to cheat just so you can win? That’s garbage, man. You’re a grandstanding dude with false integrity and I’ve got nothing for it. And if you guys think I’m being a sore winner, just go back and watch the film.”
“Old boy has got issues. He’s got character and quality issues. I don’t like Roy Nelson. He’s not my dude anymore. I have no plans to be cool with him. If you’re gonna cheat to try and beat me, you’re a dirtbag and I’ve got no respect for you. So I’ve lost all juice for Roy. All of it.”
“What I’m saying is, for the time that he was supposedly winning that fight, for the second half of the third round, he was cheating. … I think I smoked him unanimously and I think he’s a cheater. So I lost all respect for him and I’m not gonna be cool with Roy ever going forward again. That’s sideways and bogus.”
A review of the broadcast tape shows a degree of ambiguity, although the angle is poor. At one point Nelson’s toes are pretty clearly through the fence, but Mitrione appears to be posting on the foot and driving it into the fence. And at another point, Nelson’s toes appear to be dug under the fence, but they would be from sprawling the legs back, too.
Mitrione moves forward in the tournament, and next faces the winner of Ryan Bader vs. Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal at Bellator 199 on May 12.