UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione remains suspended for his recent comments about transgender fighter Fallon Fox, but after facing a stiff fine and time off, he will be able to return to the Octagon.
On Thursday during the UFC on Fox 7 media day, UFC President Dana White spoke about Mitrione and his controversial comments surrounding Fox during an appearance on The MMA Hour. Mitrione compared Fox to Buffalo Bill, a notorious serial killer in the film and book Silence of the Lambs, and also called her several names including "freak."
The comments landed Mitrione in hot water with the UFC under their newly created Code of Conduct, and he was promptly suspended from the promotion. White had a chance to speak with the former Ultimate Fighter competitor after the entire situation happened, and he said Mitrione's actions after the fact have put him back on the right track with the UFC.
"From the first day we talked he handled the whole thing like a man," White said on Thursday. "He said some ignorant comments that made him sound like a complete jackass and a bigot. He knew what he said wrong."
White admits he didn't even disagree with some of the points that Mitrione was making at the time regarding Fox or any transgender male to female fighter competing against women—he just went about it in a completely wrong way.
"It's not that I don't necessarily agree with what he was saying because I have the same issue with a man who (becomes a woman), you have different bone structure, you have a different jaw line. You have all the things of a man, it's completely different," White stated. "Men are bigger, men are stronger, men are built differently. I don’t care. When a man hits a woman it's just different."
White points out that every fighter has the right to speak their mind, but there are boundaries of good taste.
"Everybody's crying 'oh it's free speech.' Work at any company in the world and give your opinion where you come off sounding like an ignorant bigot, see how long you last at that company," White said. "He could have done it the right way and nobody would have said anything to him. He can have an opinion. It's just how you state your opinion."
For now, Mitrione remains on suspension from the UFC and White says it's upon their discretion when he can return to action. In addition to his suspension, the UFC fined Mitrione a hefty sum (although he did not disclose an amount) and it appears the heavyweight competitor has learned his lesson.
"He's on suspension. We're dealing with this thing. A lot of stupid things have been said over the last several years and by me too," White stated. "He was fined too, enough to make him call me three times. I bet before words come out of his mouth from here to here, he's going to go 'I better not say that, that's not good.'"
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.