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Matt Mitrione: Roy Nelson's VADA request 'little bit of a distraction'

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Roy Nelson's one-man campaign to get his opponents to agree to pre-fight drug testing has been a bit of an uphill struggle.

The UFC heavyweight contender tried and failed to get his original opponent for The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale main event, Shane Carwin, to agree to Voluntary Anti-Doping Association testing.

When Carwin had to pull out of Saturday night's fight in Las Vegas due to a knee injury, Nelson then tried to get Carwin's replacement, Matt Mitrione, to agree to a test.

Mitrione didn't oblige Nelson's request, either. On Monday's TUF 16 Finale media teleconference, the heavyweight said that he's not opposed to the idea of drug testing, just the timing of the request.

"Roy asked me, I don't remember what day it was, whatever day it was, it was probably a week and a half something like that ago," Mitrione said. "I just never, I had a bunch of other things going on. It felt like a little bit of a distraction, I just wasn't able to."

"I have no problem with being tested, people can come and test me whenever they want. It's a couple weeks out on my training camps, I was so intent on getting my blinders put on, I cut my career off, I canceled my Twitter. I didn't want distractions on somewhat short notice, cutting a couple weeks out of my camp ... I wanted to make sure I didn't have any issues couldn't distract me."

As far as Nelson is concerned, it's simply time to move on.

"Actually it wasn't that big of a deal, you know, I asked him and its either a yes or no question and that's all I can do is ask for it and you either take it or you don't," said Nelson. "You know, so far I'm 0 for 2."

Besides, Nelson had to adjust to a change in opponents. While Nelson had an inkling that the injury-riddled Carwin would be a prime candidate to pull out of a fight, when the news came down, it still meant a change in camp approach.

"I figured Shane would probably pull out of the fight, its not first time he's done it, I just didn't know when or where it would actually happen," he said. "The biggest thing we switched up was Shane and Matt are two different fighters, one fights southpaw, one fights orthodox, so that's a big change, and then the other things is, Matt was the one who chose this fight, so it becomes a bit more personal."

Nelson and Mitrione were both part of "The Ultimate Fighter 10" cast. a season which Nelson won. Asked the differences in competing on the show and coaching, Nelson drew some obvious conclusions.

"The difference between coaching and actually being on The Ultimate Fighter is having one goal, when you're on 'The Ultimate Fighter' as a contestant your goal is to win," Nelson said. "When you're a coach, you're trying to get eight guys to win, it's up to them to choose which one actually wants it more. You can't give them the heart and desire to go out and do it."