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After impassioned speech, Bryce Mitchell aims to wear camouflage shorts in next fight

Bryce Mitchell
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Bryce Mitchell proved that he could win a battle of wills at UFC Nashville. And not just in his fight with Bobby Moffett.

Yes, the 24-year-old Mitchell impressed in his second Octagon appearance this past March, winning a unanimous decision over Moffett after three back-and-forth rounds to improve to 11-0 as a pro and 2-0 in the UFC, and earning himself his first Fight of the Night bonus. But he also made the most of his mic time after, shouting out his native Arkansas and demanding that Reebok, the UFC’s official apparel partner, provide him with some camouflage shorts.

Given the strict policies that the UFC and Reebok have when it comes to fighters wearing anything outside of the most basic gear, it seemed doubtful that Mitchell’s request yield results; however, in a little over a week, Mitchell reported on Twitter that his manager had received a pair of camouflage shorts from Reebok.

So what was Mitchell’s secret to getting Reebok to listen?

“I just built up anger for a couple of months and actually for a while, since they took my camo shorts I’ve kind of been mad about it,” Mitchell told MMA Fighting. “I don’t care, I’ll fight in anything, I’ll fight bare-ass if I got to fight bare-ass, but I mean I really do want to fight in camo shorts so I feel I at least have the right to say I want to fight in ‘em. So if I didn’t get ‘em, I’d still fight, but it is a big deal to me. It means a lot to me.

“And the ones they sent me, I’m really glad they sent me some, the ones they sent me we just gotta modify a little bit. They’re good, they’re trying, but they didn’t get it exactly right. They sent me some, they kind of look like tie-dye, tie-dye style. We’re gonna get ‘em some real camo shorts, it’s just gonna take a little bit of time.”

Mitchell made it clear that he’s grateful for Reebok hooking him up, even if the design of the shorts aren’t exactly military grade (they appear to be cross fit shorts available on the company’s website, not custom-made). He’s just happy to be back in camouflage, a style that he picked up on before making his way to the UFC off of The Ultimate Fighter 27 and learning that it would only be plain shorts for him for the foreseeable future.

“My buddy, he’s the one who got me hooked on wearing camo shorts,” Mitchell said, when asked why the camouflage design was significant to him. “He let me borrow a pair of his camo shorts one time and I’ve liked ‘em ever since. I just think it’s pretty cool. It’s kind of outdoorsy, you know, I just really like it and it just looks cool too.”

What Mitchell isn’t sure of is if he’ll even be allowed to wear the shorts on fight night or if they’re strictly for personal use. As it stands, only top stars like Conor McGregor are typically allowed to deviate from the standard colors, so seeing a relatively new UFC fighter who is still battling his way up from the prelims decked out in a pair of customized shorts would be unprecedented in the Reebok era.

Mitchell told officials he doesn’t expect to fight again until autumn, as he’s hoping to take time to bulk up. For his featherweight bout with Moffett, Mitchell says he weighed in at 152 pounds on fight night and he hopes to be closer 160 pounds after re-hydrating when he next steps into the Octagon.

That means he’ll have to wait a little while longer to find out if his camouflage gear is approved. If it isn’t, he expects in-cage success to continue to make his statement for him.

“I really don’t know,” Mitchell said. “I think because it’s so far out from a fight, because I told them I want to fight in about five months. So I think when it gets closer, I get my manager to kind of start picking at ‘em. He’ll just pick at ‘em, he’ll be like, ‘So can Bryce fight in those shorts?’ And he might wait until a month out from the fight, a couple of weeks out. I’m just gonna get my manager to kind of do all that negotiating for me. He’s good at that stuff too.

“Worst case scenario, if I keep winning fights, they can’t ignore me forever. Eventually, if I win every single fight, if I go on a 10-fight win streak, eventually they’re going to have to let me wear the camo shorts. It’s just a matter of time if I keep winning.”

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