Category Archives: Matt Mitrione

Mauro Ranallo, Jimmy Smith handle Bellator 181 call, Matt Mitrione joins as special guest

Veteran play-by-play man Mauro Ranallo will handle the call of Friday’s Bellator 181 event, while Jimmy Smith will provide color commentary.

Additionally, Bellator heavyweight Matt Mitrione will join the call for a few segments as a special guest, while Jenn Brown serves as host of the broadcast.

MMAjunkie today confirmed the assignments with Bellator officials.

Featuring a trilogy fight between lightweights Derek Campos (18-6 MMA, 7-4 BMMA) and Brandon Girtz (14-6 MMA, 6-4 BMMA), Bellator 181 takes place Friday at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla. The night’s main card airs on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

In June, Bellator announced the addition of both Ranallo and Mike Goldberg to the organization’s broadcast team. While both were action at the company’s dual-event night in New York with Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, the duo is expected to alternate events based on availability.

Meanwhile, Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) joins the booth after competing at Bellator NYC, surviving an early double knockdown to score a first-round TKO win over MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko.

For more on Bellator 181, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Glory days are over for B.J. Penn and Fedor Emelianenko, so why won't anyone tell them?

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, UFC

The circumstances alone tell you how far B.J. Penn has fallen. Sunday night, a relatively lackluster UFC Fight Night event on cable TV, and he’s there opening the main-card portion of the show against a journeyman fighter coming off a two-year layoff.

Even worse, he loses.

This is the reality now for Penn. The UFC keeps giving him more chances to turn things around, lowering the bar each time he fails to clear it, and Penn keeps finding new ways to trip over it. This one – a majority decision loss to Dennis Siver at UFC Fight Night 112 in Oklahoma City< Okla. – wasn’t even as bad as some of the others.

He didn’t get knocked out. He didn’t get embarrassed. In fact, he came closer to winning than he has in at least six years. A solid right hand put Siver (23-11 MMA, 12-8 UFC) down in the second round, and a few followup strikes from Penn (16-12-2 MMA, 12-11-2 UFC) threatened to finish him off.

But when Siver didn’t roll over and quit, Penn faced a real problem. Whatever he had, he’d just spent. Siver came out for the third round looking to do some work whereas Penn looked like he’d rather go home. Surviving seemed like enough for him then, and he barely accomplished that.

Put that in perspective, would you? The great B.J. Penn, a former two-division champ, one of the best lightweights in UFC history, and now he’s lucky to survive three rounds with an aging and rusty Dennis Siver. If he can’t do any better than that, why do it at all?

It’s a question you could just as easily put to Fedor Emelianenko, another ghost from MMA’s past who added to his list of losses this past weekend. Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA)  got put to sleep by Matt Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) at Bellator NYC on Saturday night, which was his reward for being the slower party in the immediate aftermath of a rare double knockdown.

While Penn’s latest loss added to the worst losing streak of his career, Emelianenko’s snapped an actual winning streak. You know, sort of. Fighting in a string of smaller promotions in recent years has given Emelianenko the advantage of the friendliest possible matchmaking, along with some friendly judging to serve as an extra safety net.

It wasn’t until he signed with Bellator that he was forced to fight a real heavyweight for the first time in several years, and it ended with him laid out on the mat a little over a minute into the fight. Like Penn, he now finds himself a long way from the glory days of 2009.

And those days, they aren’t coming back. Not for Emelianenko and not for Penn. They must know that on some level, but they keep at it because they can. They can still pocket a paycheck for it. There are enough people for whom their names still mean something.

They have not yet been forcibly ejected from the sport, which means that as long they’re willing to take the beatings, they still have a home here. The pain and the public embarrassment is the rent they pay. As long as they regard it as a fair exchange, and as long as no one close to them can convince them to stop making it, here we are.

This is nothing new in combat sports, but that doesn’t make it fun to sit through. The current climate rewards name brands and nostalgia over actual skill and talent, meaning it’s never been a better time to be a past-his-prime fighter willing to trade what’s left of his reputation and brain cells for a few more nights in the cage.

Of course, another way of looking at it is that it’s never been a worse time to be one of those fighters, since those late career letdowns don’t come for free. There’s a price to be paid, and it’s not just in cable bills and pay-per-view dollars.

Penn and Emelianenko both seem eager to keep paying it, even if they might not know for years what the final bill comes to. The rest of us, we seem strangely addicted to this specific brand of sadness. We want to see fighters we know, even when it’s painfully apparent that the name is all that’s left of the man. We get that jolt of recognition, followed by the depressing reminder of their ongoing and inevitable deterioration.

Eventually, maybe we’ll decide it’s not such a good trade. Then again, we keep waiting for guys like Penn and Emelianenko to decide the same thing. So far neither one of us is truly ready to quit.

For complete coverage of Bellator NYC and UFC Fight Night 112, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

So, when is Bellator returning to pay-per-view? Scott Coker has a plan

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Filed under: Bellator, News

(This story appears in today’s edition of USA TODAY.)

NEW YORK – Bellator still has a future on pay-per-view, though it differs from MMA’s other top promotion.

Bellator’s second PPV event took place Saturday and featured a mix of familiar names and top prospects. The fight promotion, widely considered the No. 2 MMA organization behind the UFC, offered Bellator NYC, which took place at iconic Madison Square Garden.

Despite some unexpected results, it set up big fights for the future. It also underscored the different PPV strategies for Bellator and the UFC.

The Viacom-owned Bellator is not trying to replicate the UFC’s formula, which includes approximately a dozen major PPV shows per year, with 30 or so smaller events carried by its cable partners and UFC Fight Pass, its digital streaming service.

Bellator, instead, will air 20 or so annual events on Spike, but PPV is still in the plans, according to Bellator President Scott Coker. However, he tells USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie the next PPV show probably won’t come until the first quarter of 2018, and they will remain infrequent offerings. However, he said he was encouraged by Bellator NYC’s success.

“This was the biggest event in the company’s history,” he says. “We’ve got great fighters here, and I think people are seeing the talent on this roster. … This is a worthy (organization), and we’re right there at the top too.”

He says Bellator is focused on being a fan- and fighter-friendly organization with its own matchmaking style and production elements. Its biggest event to date wasn’t perfect, but it had some stunning outcomes and viral moments, both of which help justify a $50 price tag for a product otherwise available for free on basic cable.

Bellator NYC, though, had a stacked lineup, which helped draw an announced attendance of 12,133. Fight-hype specialist Chael Sonnen (29-15-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) earned a decision win over longtime rival Wanderlei Silva (35-13-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) in the headliner, and heavy-handed Matt Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) scored a 74-second win over famed heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) in a co-headliner that featured a rare double knockdown. Two new champs were crowned in three title fights, and unheralded Zach Freeman (9-2 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) submitted highly touted lightweight prospect Aaron Pico (0-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) in just 24 seconds.

They weren’t all the best outcomes for Bellator’s matchmakers or marketing team, but the unexpected results created buzz and garnered fans’ attention.

“It’s such an exciting time to be a fan of MMA,” Sonnen says. “I thought the card as a whole was outstanding. … We did some pretty good business.”

Although Bellator debuted in 2009, the product has taken its current form only recently under the helm of Coker, who was hired as president in June 2014. The longtime combat-sports promoter knows how to put on an extravagant event, as his company roster attests.

“There’s more of it to come,” says Mitrione, whose bout with Emelianenko quickly became a viral hit. “They know what they’re doing. We’re leading the industry now, so now it’s (a matter of) what they can do to lead from the front, not chase from the back.”

The UFC comparisons are likely to remain, but Coker says he’s focused on Bellator’s own progress.

“People can compare us to whoever,” Coker says. “At the end of the day, we are an organization that’s come a long way in three years. We have record ratings, record sponsors, record international distribution. It’s owned by Viacom. That’s one of the biggest media conglomerates in the world. It’s one of the most powerful. It’s a good day when you have that kind of support.”

For complete coverage of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Why Bellator NYC's Matt Mitrione doesn't want a rematch with Fedor Emelianenko

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, Featured Videos, News, Videos

NEW YORK – Matt Mitrione earned his signature career victory on Saturday when he knocked Fedor Emelianenko out cold in the first round of the Bellator NYC co-main event.

Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) has spent his entire career fighting under the Bellator and UFC banners. The brutal 74-second knockout of an all-time heavyweight great in Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) was his most significant to date, and in Mitrione’s mind, it puts him atop the world divisional rankings.

“I do work, (and) I believe I’m the best heavyweight in the world,” Mitrione told MMAjunkie after the event, which took place at Madison Square Garden in New York. “Whoever they say it’s go time with, let’s go for it.”

Although the fight was short and sweet, it was memorable. It nearly ended in a double knockout when the fighters landed simultaneous punches that dropped the other. Mitrione was quicker to recover and pounced for the finish as he jumped on the downed Emelianenko and landed a series of fight-ending strikes on the former PRIDE champion.

“I was able to get on top of him before he was able to get on top of me,” Mitrione said. “He’s easily the best fighter I’ve ever fought. It’s wild to say that (because) I’ve had rounds under my belt before, and I only fought him for two minutes, and I can tell you that he’s that good. He’s very, very good.”

Mitrione shared a moment with Emelianenko following Bellator NYC’s post-event press conference and said they discussed potentially training together. “Meathead” said it’s not a lock, though, and he doesn’t rule out a rematch with the Russian.

With the Bellator heavyweight title currently vacant, Bellator President Scott Coker said it’s possible Mitrione could fight for the belt when it’s reintroduced to the organization.

Mitrione said he’s not sure who matchmakers would put on the other side of the cage in a potential title affair, but after doing consecutive fight camps for Emelianenko (their original February date was called off at the last minute), he’s seeking a fresh opponent.

“As long as it’s not Fedor right now,” Mitrione said of his next fight. “I don’t want to have three fight camps for Fedor back to back to back. If I have somebody else in between, that’s all I really care about.”

For complete coverage of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, Featured Videos, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator NYC highlights: Watch the ridiculous finish to Matt Mitrione vs. Fedor Emelianenko

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos

In Saturday’s Bellator NYC co-headliner, we nearly saw our first double-knockout in a major MMA promotion.

Instead, Matt Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) survived the double knockdown and then pounced to force a first-round stoppage win over famed heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA).

The fight took place at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Check out the highlights above.

Also see:

For complete coverage of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Matt Mitrione disses Warriors, lobbies President Trump for White House visit after beating Fedor

If the NBA champion Golden State Warriors want to diss President Trump and skip a traditional visit to the White House by a major title team, Matt Mitrione has made it clear he would like to go in their place.

Mitrione survived a crazy double knockdown against Fedor Emelianenko on Saturday night, popping back up to knock out the legendary heavyweight for the biggest win of his career at Bellator NYC.

Surely Mitrione was on a high in the moments afterward. And so during his post-fight interview, he spoke directly to Trump to make a request while throwing shade at the Warriors.

“Hey, President Trump, (expletive) the Golden State Warriors!” Mitrione said. “I’m a real warrior. I’ll come to the White House. I’ll be good and honorable.”

So, yeah, that happened out of nowhere. Thing is, we probably shouldn’t put it past Trump to grant Mitrione’s request, either, because why not?

For complete coverage of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator NYC results: Matt Mitrione KOs Fedor Emelianenko after crazy double knockdown

As if things couldn’t get any weirder at the Garden.

In another bizarre fight ending at Bellator NYC, Matt Mitrione (12-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA) and Fedor Emelianenko (36-5 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) knocked each other down at the same time before Mitrione recovered to knock out Emelianenko for good.

The heavyweight bout was the co-main event of today’s Bellator NYC event at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It aired on pay-per-view following the Bellator 180 card on Spike with prelims on MMAjunkie.

The fight was over 74 seconds after it started, with Mitrione pounding Emelianenko unconscious with right hands, violently ending the Russian’s promotional debut.

Mitrione and Emelianenko had just started to warm up when the action got wild. The two threw right hands at the exact same instant and connected simultaneously, sending both back to the mat.

Although the two immediately righted themselves, Mitrione was quicker to capitalize on the exchange, wrapping his left arm over Emelianenko’s head and punching with his right. When Emelianenko went limp and sagged to the canvas, the fight was over.

Mitrione is now 3-0 since signing with Bellator and puts the most notable name of his career on his resume as a win. Emelianenko, meanwhile, is forced to confront his mortality after coming out of retirement in 2015 to beat an overmatched Jaideep Singh and barely escape a previous fight against UFC vet Fabio Maldonado on home soil in Russia.

Up-to-the-minute Bellator NYC results include:

For complete coverage of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Matt Erickson and Mike Bohn contributed to this report on site in New York.)

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden

We want your predictions for this week’s Bellator NYC event in New York City.

In late 2015, we expanded upon our traditional staff picks to include the consensus picks from MMAjunkie readers. Simply cast your vote for each bout below, and we’ll use the official tallies that are registered by Thursday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).

Those MMAjunkie MMA reader consensus picks will be part of the Bellator NYC staff picks we release on Friday ahead of the event. Bellator NYC takes place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The main card airs on pay-per-view following the Bellator 180 portion on Spike and MMAjunkie.

* * * *

Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva

Records: Chael Sonnen (29-15-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA), Wanderlei Silva (35-12-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA)
Past five: Sonnen 1-4, Silva 3-2
Division: Light heavyweight
Rankings: None

Take Our Poll
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Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione

Records: Fedor Emelianenko (36-4 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), Matt Mitrione (11-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA)
Past five: Emelianenko 5-0, Mitrione 3-2
Division: Heavyweight
Rankings: Mitrione No. 14

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Douglas Lima vs. Lorenz Larkin

Records: Douglas Lima (28-6 MMA, 10-2 BMMA), Lorenz Larkin (18-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA)
Past five: Lima 4-1, Larkin 4-1
Division: Welterweight
Rankings: Larkin No. 8, Lima No. 12

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Michael Chandler vs. Brent Primus

Records: Michael Chandler (16-3 MMA, 13-3 BMMA), Brent Primus (7-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA)
Past five: Chandler 4-1, Primus 5-0
Division: Lightweight
Rankings: Chandler No. 11

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Aaron Pico vs. Zach Freeman

Records: Aaron Pico (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), Zach Freeman (8-2 MMA, 0-0 BMMA)
Past five: Pico 0-0, Freeman 3-2
Division: Lightweight
Rankings: None

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Phil Davis vs. Ryan Bader

Records: Phil Davis (17-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA), Ryan Bader (22-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA)
Past five: Davis 4-1, Bader 4-1
Division: Light heavyweight
Rankings: Davis No. 3, Bader No. 4

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For more on Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator NYC's Matt Mitrione hopes for 'awesome, badass' Emelianenko after camp do-over

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News

Faced with the less-than-ideal task of preparing twice in a row for the same opponent, Matt Mitrione is trying to focus on the bright side.

Mitrione (11-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) was supposed to meet heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko (36-4 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in the headlining scrap of Bellator 172 in February. Hours before the event, however, kidney stones forced Mitrione out of the bout. In spite of multiple candidates offering to step up, Emelianenko’s highly awaited Bellator debut was put on hold.

The heavyweight scrap ended up getting rebooked, now set to take place at Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden in New York City on June 24. A highly respectful Mitrione is thankful to Emelianenko for taking it. But he also understands the scenario isn’t exactly ideal for either.

“Unfortunately for Fedor and for myself, we had to go through two camps for the same person,” Mitrione said during a conference call with the media today. “That kind of sucks – especially without having a payoff, at least having to get the fight before having to go through another one and running back for a second fight.”

The situation, Mitrione says, required some adjustments to keep the do-over camp interesting. But now, feeling “fantastic” and seemingly fully healed from the painful stones, he tries to focus on the ways that both fighters may have benefitted from the extra time to prepare.

“I might be a little more prepared for the ground stuff,” Mitrione said. “As far as armbar defense, rear-naked defense, kimura defense, takedown defense – I feel like I was pretty solid there already, as far as takedown defense. But we worked a lot of defensive grappling. You always come up with something new. A new kind of counter, a new kind of work, a new kind of angle to work on. You kind of have to.

“You kind of have to create something in order to keep it interesting, keep it fresh. And I remember before – it might have been hype or not, I don’t know – but I remember hearing before that Fedor was busy with his life and didn’t get a chance to get much training in, only got a month in. So hopefully now, Fedor is back to being awesome, badass Fedor that he’s always been.”

The heavyweight affair will serve as Bellator NYC’s co-headliner, with veterans Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva clashing on the main event. It will be the promotion’s second pay-per-view event.

Ranked No. 14 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, UFC vet Mitrione comes off back-to-back knockout wins in his first two Bellator fights. Emelianenko, considered one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, rides a five-win run.

Keeping his respectful attitude  toward Emelianenko, Mitrione took the time to thank him for a vote of confidence given earlier, when the PRIDE legend was asked whether a contingency plan was in place should Mitrione face health issues again.

“By the way: I really appreciate Fedor’s response to a question asked earlier about, ‘Has Bellator approached you about another set-up in case this happens again?,’” Mitrione said. “And his response was, ‘No, this fight is going to happen. We’re going to make it work.’ It just shows why he’s the greatest of all time.

“He’s humble, he’s got incredible answers to questions and he’s about as genuine as they get in this game. Thanks a lot. I really appreciate the confidence in that and I’m glad we can finally get this thing going.”

For more more on Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

'Countdown to Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva' full special, also featuring Fedor and Mitrione

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos

Bellator will host just its second pay-per-view on June 24 when Bellator NYC takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York, and the promotion has released a “Countdown to Bellator NYC” special to promote the event.

In the headliner, Chael Sonnen (29-14-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) and Wanderlei Silva (35-12-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) will settle their longstanding feud that dates back to their UFC days on the “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3,” which resulted in one of the most serious physical clashes between opposing coaches in the show’s history.

And in the co-main event, legendary heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko (36-4 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) will make his promotional debut when he takes on knockout artist Matt Mitrione (11-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) in a rescheduling of their previous bout that fell through earlier this year.

“Countdown to Bellator NYC” goes behind the scenes and inside the lives of all four fighters as they prepare for what Bellator President Scott Coker is calling “the biggest event in the history of this company.”

Check out the full special above.

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

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