Friday, October 5, 2012

Matt Mitrione explains why he turned down Daniel Cormier bout in Strikeforce

By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

"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. 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... If I thought I was ready for Cormier, I would fight him in Strikeforce or the UFC, or wherever... Whether this fight was in the UFC or Strikeforce makes no difference to me. I turned down Cormier the fighter, not the fight organization."

-UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione talks to Steph Daniels at regarding why he turned down a fight with Daniel Cormier in Strikeforce.

Penick's Analysis: UFC President Dana White ripped into Mitrione over the weekend for turning this fight down, but this is just another case of a fighter doing what they felt was right for themselves and their career. Mitrione going into Strikeforce and pulling off an upset over Cormier would have been surprising, but it wasn't the type of "opportunity" that would have vaulted him up the ladder in the heavyweight division. Cormier would have been the highest ranked fighter Mitrione had yet faced, but he wouldn't necessarily have been the highest profile fight he's had, and the risks out-weighed the benefits for him when the fight was presented. He has been out of action for a long time, and he clearly felt Cormier represented a very bad fight for him at this stage in his career. White may not like fighters looking out for themselves first, but that's what Mitrione did here, and he wasn't necessarily wrong to do so.


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