In the co-main event last weekend at UFC Vegas 79, Bryce Mitchell (16-1) out grappled Dan Ige (17-7) to secure the decision victory, but his antics before and after the fight became an additional aspect of the story of his performance.
Prior to the start of the fight, Mitchell brought a bible into the Octagon and yelled “Freedom” while being announced. Following “Thug Nasty” being declared the winner, he shared his outspoken views on the fires in Hawaii and how he believes they were intentionally set by those who want to steal land from the natives.
This is amazing!!!
Bryce Mitchell went into his fight last night holding a BIBLE and yelled FREEDOM!!!
He won his fight last night…
— Graham Allen (@GrahamAllen_1) September 24, 2023
Following the event, Mitchell was asked about the views that he shared and his actions inside the Octagon, to which he responded by commending the UFC for allowing him to express himself freely.
“That’s what it’s all about – is being yourself in here. That’s what people love. I’m just glad for the opportunity to make – it [fused] my personality into what I’m doing,” he said. “I have no problem fighting, but my favorite part is just getting to say what I want, do what I want, live the free life that I live. That’s what I love about this.”
“The UFC, it gives me freedom. I’m in here fighting for my freedom. You can’t be in no NFL team talking how I talk. You can’t be on no NBA team talking how I talk. UFC gives me freedom to be who I want to be, and that’s what I love. That’s why I go in here ready to [go]. I can’t have no other job that gives me this freedom. And that’s what I love, brother. I’m free.”
After Dana White’s Contender Series on Tuesday night, the UFC’s CEO was also asked about his views on Mitchell’s outspokenness and out of the ordinary takes, to which he replied with nothing but support for fighters bringing their own personal flair to their appearances in the cage.
Dana White on Bryce Mitchell bringing his bible into the cage pic.twitter.com/0Rfd5ENx5v
— MMA Mania (@mmamania) September 27, 2023
“I got no reaction. You know how I am here, whatever you’re into man. There are no muzzles here”
“Whoever you are, whatever you believe, whatever you think, we’ve heard it all, seen it all – well, we think we have, who knows what’s next – but this is one of those places where you say what you feel and say what you want, and it’s all good with me.”
The victory over Ige placed Mitchell back in the win column after suffering his first professional loss to Ilia Topuria (14-0) by Arm Triangle Choke at UFC 282. Regardless of whether you agree with Mitchell’s diverse belief system or not, the consensus is the same across the fan base, people want to see more of Arkansas’ “Thug Nasty”.