Matt Mitrione will return to the Bellator cage tonight (Sat. August 24, 2019) to take on Sergei Kharitonov.
The fight will be a rematch from their initial meeting at Bellator 215 this past February. There, Mitrione nailed Kharitonov with a low blow 15 seconds into the fight. The kick was so hard that Kharitonov was unable to continue, and the fight was ruled a No Contest. Now, the pair get the opportunity to run it back and settle things once and for all.
However, over the past few months there have been a lot of rumors regarding Mitrione’s contractual status with the Viacom-owned promotion. The likes of former UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub, a former castmate of Mitrione’s on “The Ultimate Fighter,” suggested his deal with Bellator is nearly up, and the likes of the UFC and ONE Championship are showing great interest in the former NFL defensive lineman.
Speaking to LowKickMMA, Mitrione suggested he’s unsure about where things stand between himself and Bellator contractually. But he does know that any talk with other promotions at this point in time would be tampering. Not to mention, he wants to give Kharitonov the respect he deserves, and is fully focused on their fight tonight.
“I’m not exactly sure. I’ve heard that I’ve had interest and my name value has only increased since I’ve left the UFC and went to Bellator,” Mitrione said. “My exciting brand of fights is still there. I’m glad to hear that people are taking notice that I’m still performing the way I’m expected to perform.
“But as far as I understand, any kind of talk about any type of contracts that aren’t Bellator is tampering, and I’m not trying to get myself into financial trouble for that. So, it’s cool to be wanted and it’s sexy to be wanted but it’s up to me to make sure that I perform at the level that I do.
“If I start thinking about how other places wanted me or the money I can make on my contract, then I’m not giving Kharitonov the respect he deserves.”
Mitrione has been stellar in his run with Bellator since signing with the promotion back in 2016. He racked up a four-fight win streak over notable names such as Fedor Emelianenko and Roy Nelson.
However, he dropped a unanimous decision loss to Ryan Bader in Bellator’s Heavyweight Grand Prix semifinals. After his No Contest with Kharitonov in February, Mitrione hopes to get back into the winner’s circle tonight in the rematch.
“Yeah, I’m gonna win,” Mitrione said. “It’s not gonna be easy, but I’m gonna win.”
Do you think Mitrione should remain with Bellator? Or should he consider a return to the UFC or a journey to Singapore for ONE Championship?