“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”
― Harlan Ellison
It’s easy to like Matt Mitrione. He speaks what’s on his mind, fights to finish and makes no qualms about whom or what he is. Being nice, personable and a generally exciting fighter wins you fans in MMA at a minimum and generally pushes you up the card faster as well. Mitrione is also known for his somewhat offbeat sense of humor, including spurts on Ariel Helwani’s “The MMA Hour” in which his “Mitrione Minute” allows him to ramble on anything that crosses his mind. He usually has material prepped for the minute, of course, and this week’s was something spectacular for all the wrong reasons. His target happened to be Fallon Fox
“I watched one of the fight videos and holy (expletive), I haven’t seen a man beat a woman (like that) since Chris Brown beat Rihanna,” Mitrione said. “That’s exceptional how he beats innocent, unknowing women like that.”
Mitrione also asked whether Fox would pursue a hate crime prosecution if she was defeated by a woman because “she’s imposing on his freedom as a tranny.”
“She’s not a he. He’s a he,” Mitrione followed that up with. “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.”
Mitrione was promptly suspended by the UFC and condemned by anyone with half a brain. While Mitrione does have the right to say what he wants he does have the responsibility for his words when uttered. The suspension was warranted and “Meathead” will probably go to ‘rehab’ and do an apology tour like most athletes/celebrities do when they insult a minority group or otherwise do something reprehensibly stupid. Professional fighters are now facing the same scrutiny that athletes in other sports do; it’s a sign that MMA is finding its niche in the mainstream in that people are caring about what happens when they screw up.
And like other athletes in other sports Mitrione can count on a lot of people will not care about what he said in a year, especially if he wins a couple of fights. It’s the beauty of sport in a way: Victory is the ultimate palate cleanser for fans. And eventually this will pass, as well, and the whole situation will wind up becoming another shenanigan in the ever evolving history of MMA. It also highlights hypocrisy among Zuffa brass: Mitrione isn’t the first Zuffa employee to sound off on this situation in similar ways. He’s just the first fighter.
Matt Hughes, the current UFC Vice President of Athletic Development and Government Relations, referred to Fox as a “he” during a Q&A with fans as well.
Color commentator Joe Rogan weighed in on the controversy around Fox’s transgender status and her involvement in MMA in less than glowing words. Rogan’s words mirrored Mitrione’s quite closely, oddly enough, and yet nothing happened to the man acknowledged often times as the voice of the UFC.
It would be one thing if Rogan and Hughes, a Hall of Fame fighter as well, had been publicly reprimanded like Mitrione and forced to apologize like “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 competitor will eventually do. But they weren’t. So far nothing has happened to either and odds are nothing will happen, either. It’s a rank hypocrisy and if the UFC is going to demand more of its fighters from a P.R perspective it needs to demand more from those inside the organization as well.