NEW YORK - After 16 days on the UFC's suspended list, Matt Mitrione was pulled back on to the active roster on Wednesday, when he was confirmed as a participant on the UFC on FOX 8 card scheduled for July 27. As it turns out, aside from his bouts during the season he appeared on The Ultimate Fighter, the three-and-half month turnaround will be the fastest of his career.
That doesn't seem like much of a penalty, but White said the suspension wasn't so much a punishment as it was a chance to speak with Mitrione about the situation and determine his intent.
In the end, he said, Mitrione privately apologized and was fined an undisclosed amount. When pressed for a number, UFC president Dana White declined to offer specifics.
"A lot," he said. "Enough to make him call me 40 times and ask him not to fine me that much."
White did not say where that money would go. Some professional sports leagues, including the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball, donate at least some portion of fine money to charitable causes.
Mitrione was suspended on April 8, after comments on MMAFighting.com's show The MMA Hour, during which he called transgender women's fighter Fallon Fox "a lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak."
White said that Mitrione's underlying objection to Fox, who was born a man, fighting women should have been stated in a more articulate manner. In fact, White said that while he disagreed with Mitrione's disparaging characterization of Fox, he agreed with Mitrione's stance against Fox fighting women. Saying he would ultimately leave it up to fight commissions and scientists to decide the right course, he believes that Fox, born as a man, holds some genetic advantages, even after years of hormone therapy.
"I don't think that somebody who used to be a man but became a woman should be able to fight women," he said. "I don’t. But the way he said it? If he was standing in front of a courtroom because he was so passionate about this, in front of a judge or a committee or something like that, he wouldn’t have said it the way he said it. Maybe he thought he was trying to be funny? It wasn’t funny."
Mitrione has never publicly apologized for the comments, although the UFC publicly chastised him in a statement, saying his words were "offensive and wholly unacceptable."
White said any public apology is ultimately Mitrione's responsibility.
"Yeah if that’s what he wanted to do. I don’t tell anybody to do anything," he said. "If a guy comes out and says something stupid, I don’t go to him and say, ‘Here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to apologize,’ and do this and that. You can’t make somebody apologize. If I make him do it, it’s not real. Then he’s not really apologizing. That’s literally how I deal with people and how we handle things after they mess up. We’re all going to make mistakes. That’s normal. But, how do you handle yourself after you make that mistake?"
Future transgressions of the UFC's code of conduct will be treated in the same way. White said suspension terms are not spelled out, and remain under the UFC's discretion.