I admit that I know little to nothing when it comes to the world of Mixed Martial Arts. To me, it looks like two guys simply beating the crap out of each other. For some reason it is insanely popular though. SBNation even has a community dedicated to it at The Bloody Elbow. To them, it is much more than two guys beating each other up. Nick Thomas has excellent commentary about the skills and matchups of MMA fighting.
After last Saturday we need a boost as a team. We looked somewhat sluggish at times against Notre Dame, and we need someone to come in and motivate us. As it happens, one of Purdue's own is now an MMA fighter and will be appearing at UFC 119 in Indianapolis' Conseco Fieldhouse on September 25th. No, I am not talking about Mat ten Dam. I am talking about Matt Mitrione, today's Profile in badassery.
Mitrione showed his toughness at an early age. He enjoyed hunting and martial arts in his spare time, and even placed second in a tough-man competition in his home town. It wasn't like he placed as a weightlifter, either. He was a kickboxer. It takes a special kind of crazy to welcome being kicked in the head repeatedly, but that was Matt. You don't see a lot of 6'3", 290+ pound kickboxers, but Matt's size had to be intimidating in a sport that demands agility.
Mitrione's time at Purdue
When Matt came to Purdue we should have known that one day he would become a fearsome badass. He was an honorable mention All-American from Springfield, IL when he committed before the 1997 season. He sat out his first year, then earned a starting job for the next three seasons. He was able to start 35 consecutive games at one of the most brutal positions on the field.
Mitrione's only touchdown in his career.
He was effective at defensive tackle too. In 1998 he had an interception he returned 17 yards for a touchdown to help Purdue beat Michigan State. He blocked a field goal against Penn State and a pair of sacks against Iowa. Eventually, he earned second team all-Big Ten honors before the 2000 season and helped take the Boilers to the Rose Bowl. He left Purdue ranked seventh in tackles for loss with 36 stops behind the line.
Despite a solid career at Purdue, Matt went undrafted in 2001. That didn't stop him from having a brief NFL career. He earned a roster spot with the Giants and later played for the Vikings. Unfortunately, he only played in nine games and had four tackles, but that is four more tackles than I will ever get in the NFL.
One thing that cut his career short was a foot injury suffered against the 49ers in a playoff game after the 2002 season. That injury cost him his spot with the Giants and took seven surgeries and 16 months to correct the problem. That likely played a major reason in his career ending prematurely in 2006.
A sports and nutrition helped Matt to pay the bills after leaving the NFL, but his real passion was martial arts. That is what has led to his career today, and his true bad-assed status. For the rest of his profile, I must turn this over to MMA expert and resident reader glassjawsh, who knows a whole lot more about the sport than I do. Josh, take it away.
Basically what Matt Mitrione did was join the cast of the Ultimate Fighter (the UFC's reality TV show that puts 16 fighters in one house and then has them fight one another with the winner [and recently some of the losers] receiving contracts) season 10: Heavyweights along with several other former NFL players (Marcus Jones, Brendan Shaub, Wes Shivers and Demico Rogers).
It was a horrifically boring season and Mitrione pretty much outed himself as a "meathead" (his words not mine) and a headcase and a douchebag (my words). At one point he faked an injury so he wouldn't have to fight and he almost came to blows with housemate Justin Wren because he was being a dick.
Anyway the significance of Mitrione's inclusion in the TUF (the Ultimate Fighter) house can not be understated, especially if we want to profile what a badass he is, and ESPICALLY when the UFC heavyweight roster includes this man --> yargh!
and this man ---> freakin 300 sh*t!!
who can do this to your face -----> ZOMG!
While the sport I love can often times be subtle and beautiful. The heavyweight division is usually anything but and it takes a special kind of crazy to willingly step in the octagon (that's what they call the 8 sided cage that the UFC holds their matches in) with a frothing muscle bound 265 lb troglodyte with cement blocks for hands that derives pleasure (sexually if you ask tank abbott) from injuring you until he is unwillingly pulled off by a referee. It takes some SERIOUS NADS.
Add to that little nugget the fact that Mitrione had only been training in MMA for two years and was making his professional MMA debut in the UFC. This cannot be stressed enough! Mitrione went from learning sprawling techniques and footwork with a trainer at his local gym to fighting in the NFL/NBA/LPGA of mixed martial arts. Think about that for a moment....that would be like someone who had never played organized football in their life getting signed to an NFL contract. Mind blowing.
Anyhow, as I've already stated Mitrione's stay in the TUF was largely forgettable, but because he called former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Marcus Jones a crybaby, Dana White (the president of the UFC) decided to let them settle their differences in the octagon at the TUF 10 Finale. Marcus Jones is freaking massive, both Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson (former champions at 205 lbs and TUF 10 coaches) expressed awe at the sheer size and brute strength Jones possessed. Simply stated Marcus Jones is a bad ass mutha.
I honestly believed that Jones was going to tear Mitrione's head clean off his shoulders and feast on the delicious mana contained inside. Then this happened ----> KTFO! and my mind was thoroughly blown. Apparently destroying a hulking man-child angered the UFC matchmaking Gods because Mitrione was next paired up against Backyard Beatdown artist and Youtube sensation Kimbo Slice. I shouldn't have to explain to you the social phenomenon that is Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson, but suffice it to say he is a scary bald guy that beat the sh*t out of some crackheads at barbecues in Miami got famous by way of youtube and was then exploited heavily by the MMA world.
His MMA skills were mostly a sham, but in all honesty, dude has blocks of granite for hands. If he catches you, you go out. Needless to say Matt Mitriones best route to winning was NOT to stand and trade with Kimbo Slice. Winging punches with a 230 lb gorilla is an easy way to get your head chucked into the 3rd row. Good news for Matt, he got the memo and knocked kimbo out in the 2nd round via ground strikes.
That's all for now, my boss is starting to wonder why I haven't done anything except search wikipedia and google for the last hour.
So there you have it. if you see Matt Mitrione back at Purdue for a weekend be very nice to him. He is a true badass with whom you do not mess with.