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Cheick Kongo turned down tilt with Roy Nelson

The UFC recently was sent looking for a heavyweight to fill a spot previously occupied by the injured Shane Carwin in a bout against Roy Nelson at the Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale. The name the organization ultimately plucked for the pairing was Matt Mitrione, a relatively raw but talented competitor. However, it appears Mitrione was the UFC’s second choice for the scrap.

According to UFC President Dana White, imposing Frenchman Cheick Kongo was given an opportunity to face Nelson and passed. No reason was given for Kongo’s decision, though it seems like time should not have been a factor given the show’s date of December 15.

The 18-7 Kongo is coming off a decision win over Shawn Jordan in July and hasn’t been booked since. The victory was his third in four fights, one of which came against Mitrione as chance would have it.


  • Richard Stabone says:

    Eh, whatever. Carwin, Nelson, Kongo, Meathead….none of these guys have legitimate title aspirations ahead of them so it’s tough for me to get too worked up over these types of matchups. Just put together pairings that provide the best opportunity to deliver entertaining results, and I think Nelson-Mitrione qualifies as that (especially given the short notice). If Kongo had accepted the fight, I think the mostly likely scenario would have been Kongo going in there with a low gas tank and grappling with Roy for 3 lackluster rounds. No thanks.

    And generally speaking, I have no issue with guys turning down fights on short notice. In this latest instance, we’re basically a month out from the event… so Kongo would have had about 3 weeks to try to pull together a mini training camp (and we have no idea what might be happening in his personal life right now), with the final week spent traveling across the globe and getting settled in while dealing with various media obligations. The UFC has reached big boy status as a pro sports league, and its athletes are going to act accordingly, making decisions that will best serve their own career as a professional athlete. And for most guys that career, on the UFC stage, will last only a few years or less.

    Lastly, I’m sick of the fighters taking all the heat in these situations. Shit happens and when fights fall thru and the UFC starts looking at other options, it should be a negotiation between company & fighter. But instead the prevaling attitude seems to be that when the UFC calls with an offer, guys should jump at the opportunity without thinking twice. That’s crap. Fighters are typically going out on a limb by taking a fight on short notice, so they should be compensated for taking on the additional risk of fighting under less than ideal circustmances. In other words, with these potential replacement options the UFC has ample resouces to make them happen if they really wanted to; if the price is right guys will take the fight. But the UFC maintains a much more rigid ‘take it or leave it’ stance, and if a guy doesn’t play along the UFC will toss him under the bus thru the media and/or punish him down the line with future opportunities. It’s pathetic & embarrassing behavior but the UFC mostly gets a free pass from fans & media, so no harm no foul.

  • Rece Rock says:

    “I’m sick of the fighters taking all the heat in these situations”

    yep your right… there are logistics in their lives and their training preperation that no one can understand but them… It doesn’t make it easier for a hyped up fan to swallow but it’s the unfortunate truth.


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