Matt Mitrione trained Shotokan karate as a child but primarily had a football upbringing. He played college football at Purdue, and while undrafted, was offered an NFL contract by the New York Giants in 2002. After an injury led to the end of his stint with the Giants, Mitrione had brief stints with the San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings before his football career ended. Mitrione, at the advice of his friend and MLB star Jayson Werth, turned to MMA.
Mitrione competed on season 10 of the UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter, defeating Scott Junk in the preliminary round but losing to James McSweeney in the quarterfinals. Mitrione made his professional MMA debut at the season’s finale event, knocking out Marcus Jones 10 seconds into the second round. Mitrione then defeated Kimbo Slice at UFC 113. Mitrione went 5-0, with one Fight of the Night bonus, before losing to Cheick Kongo.
After going 9-5 in the UFC, with a Fight of the Night and two Performance of the Night bonuses, Mitrione tested the free agency market and opted to sign with Bellator in March 2016.
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