Matt Mitrione is set to face Roy Nelson in a rematch as a part of the opening round for the Bellator MMA Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Nelson won the first clash at the UFC Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale in 2012, but Mitrione says then UFC matchmaker Joe Silva had lied to him about the size of the Octagon for that fight.
“Anyone who’s ever listened to me fight or my interviews, knows how much I despise that small cage, and Joe Silva lied to me and told me it’s the big cage so I would take the fight,” Mitrione said on The MMA Hour.
Depending on the size of the arena that the UFC holds events in, the promotion will use either a 30 ft. by 3 0ft. cage or a 25 ft. by 25 ft. cage. When it comes to the UFC Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale, which was held in a smaller venue known as The Joint At The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, so the scaled cage was used on that night.
Silva, who has since retired and has been inducted into the UFC Hall Of Fame, denies lying to Mitrione on that occasion.
“I would not lie about such a thing,” Silva said to MMA Fighting. “There’s no reason to. I’ve never heard anyone use the excuse the cage was smaller as to why they lost.”
Mitrione wasn’t even supposed to be fighting Nelson on that night because he replaced an injured Shane Carwin on just a few weeks’ notice.