Roy “Big Country” Nelson has unfinished business with Matt Mitrione.
Nelson was eliminated in the first round of the Bellator heavyweight tournament in a majority decision loss to fellow veteran Mitrione. It was the second time the two heavyweights have fought. The first fight took place in the UFC with Nelson picking up a KO win.
Prior to the fight the atmosphere had mostly been respectful. After the fight was over however, things took a downward turn. Mitrione publicly labelled Nelson a cheat for what he perceived as illegal use of the fence while in the top position in the third round.
Speaking to MMAJunkie yesterday, Nelson has fired back some seriously personal shots at Mitrione.
“Matt’s a guy that’s always the pot calling the kettle black,” Nelson said. “I think he’s still upset because he’s cheating on his wife and stuff. That’s all I heard that whole week – was him cheating on his wife. So I think he has a lot of guilt, and he’s got to take his rage out somewhere. But there’s no cheating on my end. I think he’s just upset because in his heart he didn’t really feel like he won. He wasn’t the best fighter that night.”
Nelson remains convinced that he and Mitrione fought to a draw over three rounds which would have led to a fourth, sudden death round, to determine the outcome. With Mitrione winning the first two rounds and Nelson arguably taking a 10-8 round 3, it’s easy to understand his point of view.
“I want Round 4, so we can go ahead and do that again,” Nelson said. “The worst-case scenario is we should’ve went to a fourth round. That was worst case scenario. (Referee) Dan (Miragliotta) was going to call the fight like three times. I got it in my head because I started having an argument with Dan about how Matt’s not moving and he couldn’t get out. He took a lot of unanswered shots.”
With Mirione advancing to the semi finals of the Bellator heavyweight tournament, a trilogy fight between the two former UFC stars doesn’t seem likely in the immediate future.
Booked to face Mirko Cro Cop at Bellator 200 in London, Nelson is viewing the bout as a potential alternate eliminator for the heavyweight tournament and a possible route to back to facing Mitrione for a third time.
“My goal is to beat up Cro Cop and then hopefully beat up Matt again and then get back in the tournament,” Nelson said. “I don’t know what I want more – the tournament or Matt. They’re both good. There’s Cro Cop, and there’s also (Quinton Jackson), who didn’t want to fight. There are so many people that I actually want to fight now.”
Big Country has no shortage of potential opponents in the Bellator heavyweight division. Given the personal nature of the back and forth comments made between he and Mitrione, it’s easy to understand why that is the fight he’d like most.