By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
With Shane Carwin going down to a knee injury, the UFC needed to find a new opponent for Roy Nelson at The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale on Dec. 15. Nelson's Ultimate Fighter 10 teammate Matt Mitrione was given the slot on Thursday, but he wasn't the first choice.
UFC President Dana White revealed in an exchange with a fan on Twitter that the organization had offered the fight to Cheick Kongo, but that Kongo turned the bout down. There wasn't any follow up on whether or not anyone else was approached, but Kongo turning the fight down opened up the opportunity for Mitrione.
That in and of itself was surprising. Mitrione had turned down a fight with Daniel Cormier in Strikeforce, a move that drew the ire of UFC President Dana White. But that dog house slot didn't last, as he'll now headline this TUF 16 Finale in December.
Penick's Analysis: I'm a little surprised Kongo turned down that fight, as he'd have entered off a win over Shawn Jordan this summer, but I'm sure he had his reasons. Nelson-Mitrione isn't a bad fight, as surprising as it is that Mitrione was given the opportunity, but it's not that interesting either. Pulling Daniel Cormier from Strikeforce would have been desirable, though likely not workable, which is also unfortunate and one of the reasons the end of Strikeforce will be a good thing for top end fighters.
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