Patchy Mix acknowledges how much hype and promotion play into the public’s perception of a fighter.
Look no further than the ultra-impressive résumé the New York native holds — an 18-1 record, with 13 of those wins coming by way of knockout or submission. Mix also scored arguably one of the best knockouts of 2023 when he flattened Raufeon Stots with a brutal knee strike back in April to cap off Bellator’s bantamweight grand prix and put himself in a position to battle Sergio Pettis for the undisputed title on Friday at Bellator 301.
Meanwhile, Sean O’Malley holds almost the exact same record — 17-1 with one no contest — and ironically enough he also has 13 finishes in his career as well. The biggest difference has arguably been the platform on which he performs, with O’Malley reigning as the UFC bantamweight champion, which is undeniably the biggest MMA promotion on Earth.
Mix isn’t jealous of O’Malley’s success — far from it, actually — but he also knows just how much hype and promotion separates the two of them, despite eerily similar credentials.
“I’ve got respect for Sean O’Malley,” Mix told MMA Fighting. “F***, I was right next to his family when he won the title. Even though I train with Aljamain [Sterling] and I’ve got a lot of respect for Aljo. It sucked to see him lose like that because he was on such a run and he could have called himself the GOAT with his credentials that he was gaining, beating T.J. Dillashaw, beating Henry Cejudo. Those are big names for him. I just saw Sean O’Malley, it was something in the air that night. It was a special night for him. You’ve got to just give respect where it was due. It was a magical moment.
“He got the knockout and he won the UFC world title. That just shows you marketing and promoting. He won the UFC world title with that type of knockout. Way less devastating than my knockout. Mine was in 80 seconds, with just as much on the line against a guy that was 19-1. Average fans barely still know me. That’s where I go with the promoting thing, but you’ve got to give him respect.”
Regardless of organization, Mix has long considered himself to be the best bantamweight in the sport, and he’s never backed down from a challenge to prove it.
If the opportunity presented itself, he would welcome a fight against someone like O’Malley to settle those infamous debates about who would win in a cross promotional showdown, even if it there’s little chance it will ever happen.
“I haven’t even begun to break that fight down, but I’d bet me against anyone,” Mix said. “I feel if I were to fight him, with a proper training camp, I feel I could take that guy out too. Without a doubt.
“But that’s not even up for discussion right now. The thing that’s on my mind is Sergio Pettis.”
Facing Pettis at Bellator 301, Mix not only has a chance to cement himself as the undisputed Bellator bantamweight champion, but he also gets to face a more established opponent. Pettis grew up under the UFC banner before moving to Bellator, so he already had a household name when joining the promotion.
To add to that, Pettis has put together a jaw-dropping string of wins, including a spinning backfist knockout of Kyoji Horiguchi and then a pair of lopsided decisions over Juan Archuleta and current Bellator featherweight king Patricio Pitbull.
Like it or not, Mix believes Pettis presents just as many challenges as anyone who could be thrown at him from the UFC, and that includes the current 135-pound champion.
“It’s great to have an opportunity to fight someone like Sergio Pettis with a big name like that,” Mix said. “I feel like in these other promotions, I’ll fight a guy at 19-1 like Raufeon Stots — just look at that, 19-1. Think of some of those guys on the other side. He’d be a killer over in the UFC, and that would be more promoted so people would know more about each one of us. But that doesn’t dilute my win. It’s still a win over the same level of competition, and that’s all that matters to me.
“As long as I can sleep at night. I look forward to taking on big challenges like Stots and like Pettis, just as Pettis did with Pitbull. We’re some of the best guys in the world over here on this side.”
All the comparisons aside, Mix isn’t losing any sleep if he’s not as well-known or popular as somebody like O’Malley, because he didn’t sign up to compete in MMA to become famous.
Mix wants to carve out a legacy of his own in the sport, make a whole lot of money along the way, and he’ll ultimately let his record speak for itself.
“I’m not trying to shut anyone up,” Mix said. “I’m just trying to make as much money as I possibly can in the sport of MMA and take care of my family and the people around me. I don’t really pay attention to any of that stuff. All the people that are just casuals of the sport, that doesn’t bother me.
“Like I said, I have 11 amateur fights, 18 as a pro, 29 for 30 wins in all of MMA with like 23 finishes and I’m running that record up. I’m all about records and stats. I don’t really care about the casuals or anything like that. As long as I walk away from this sport wealthy and my family taken care of, that’s all I really care about.”
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