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Matt Mitrione set to appeal TKO loss to Travis Browne due to alleged referee errors

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Matt Mitrione's is still having issues with his eye. His shoulder is injured. Worse still, there's a loss on his record that he believes should not be there.

The free-agent heavyweight is planning on appealing his TKO loss to Travis Browne from UFC Fight Night: Dillashaw vs. Cruz with the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission (MSAC) due to an alleged series of referee errors, Mitrione confirmed with MMA Fighting on Monday.

Journalist Duane Finley was the first to report the news. MSAC director Jen Cobis said she could not comment on whether or not the commission had received an official appeal.

Media-Mitrione Grievance Andrew 2

In the grievance, Mitrione also calls into question Forman's relative lack of experience as a referee considering the stature of the bout and questionable conduct with regards to conflict of interest and social media.

Browne beat Mitrione by TKO in the third round Jan. 17 in Boston. In the appeal, Mitrione believes he proves that referee Gary Forman made myriad mistakes in the bout, especially with regards to multiple times Browne accidentally poked Mitrione in the eye. Mitrione thinks MSAC should at least change the result to a disqualification.

"My case is extremely strong, extremely valid," Mitrione said. "And I know a lot of times people have cases when they appeal something and it's a very valid position and nothing ever happens, it doesn't get overturned. Well, that's bullsh*t. A lot of that problem, I think, is because the commission takes a lot of pride in who they hire and they don't feel like they can be accountable for those mistakes.

"People f*ck up. It happens. I don't think the commission should take it on the chin like they apparently do and it shouldn't be a shot at their ego."

Mitrione, 37, left TD Garden that night with a frightening hematoma over his right eye, partly due to pokes that landed there as well as punches that might not have landed to the area if Mitrione were able to see properly. In the second round, Mitrione said that Forman actually told him to stop jumping into Browne's fingers, rather than giving Browne a warning for a foul. No points were ever deducted from Browne for the pokes.

"I actually got admonished for aggressively closing distance to strike, because Travis was bailing out," Mitrione said. "That's madness to me."

Soon after, Mitrione said Forman did warn Browne about eye pokes without stopping the action. It was Mitrione who actually stopped fighting at that point, telling Forman that he couldn't see. In most cases, referees are taught that if a fighter says he or she cannot see, the fight should be called off right there.

Mitrione fought on and Browne finished him a round later. Mitrione ended up with a broken orbital bone and a separated shoulder from a slam. The former NFL player believes Forman should have stopped the fight and saved him from himself, which is a part of the referee's duty.

"He acknowledges the fact that he missed the foul, because he knew it was a finger that caused that poke, and warns Travis, but doesn't stop the fight," Mitrione said. ... "The fact that it's gonna stick on my record as a loss with no asterisk on it because I had the balls to carry forward versus just stopping -- that's madness."

Mitrione (9-5) is now a free agent after losing two straight. The loss to Browne has affected his negotiating power, he said, among other things. He knows that appeals to commissions are very rarely successful in MMA, but he felt like he had to try anyway. His teammate, Andy Sankin, is a lawyer and helped Mitrione craft his appeal letter, Mitrione said.

"Travis should not get, in my opinion, the victory on that fight," Mitrione said. "Travis didn't win that fight. There were a substantial amount of errors in that fight and it shouldn't have ever gotten to that point."