Matt Mitrione couldn’t have been much more unlucky. Ahead of the biggest fight of his professional career last weekend against the legendary Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator 172 Mitrione was, as he puts it, in the best shape of his life. His technique was as good as it gets. He was as good as he has ever been.
But then a niggling pain in his lower back soon grew into something worse. By the time his kidney stone had taken full effect, Mitrione was doubled over in pain, vomiting and, for a 30 hour stretch, unable to urinate. Not exactly the the type of condition you want to be in before stepping into a cage to fight the consensus best heavyweight fighter of all time.
Mitrione spoke to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour (and reported by Shaun Al-Shatti of MMAFighting) on Monday to explain his ill-timed kidney stone and the regret he feels at not giving the fans the fight they wanted.
It’s really difficult, man,” Mitrione said. “I’m an athlete, I’ve relied on my body my entire life, and for something like this to happen at literally the worst possible time, just hurts my heart. Man, it’s really, really difficult to handle. And the fact that I literally did everything I possibly could, Bellator did everything they possibly could to extend my time frame, trying to help out, and it just got to a point where it wasn’t going to work. Man, there’s nothing I could do about it at all.
Mitrione says that he put on a brave face during the weigh-ins, not wanting to alert his opponent or the fans to the fact that something was terribly wrong. He was still fostering intentions of competing but it soon became apparent that the kidney stone was going to cause the bout to be postponed.
“It really started to kick in on Friday, and I didn’t know if I got sick all of sudden, just what the problem was, but it kept magnifying and amplifying,” Mitrione said. “It got to the point where I was absolutely miserable. At weigh-ins, I had to put on a show and be like, ‘hey, I look good,’ because I don’t want Fedor to see this puking, doubled-over-in-agony kind of guy. It just was really difficult, and then it just kept getting worse.
“On Saturday, Bellator was like, ‘look dude, we have to go to the hospital, this thing isn’t right, something’s going on.’ We went to the hospital, told them what’s going on. They said, ‘look, it’s probably kidney stones.’ They hooked me to my IVs to try to flush it out, and then they gave me a CT scan to see what was really going on, and that’s when they saw the stone. The stone hadn’t even passed.”
In the end, Bellator made the decision to remove Mitrione from the bout and he says he has surgery scheduled soon to remove four more stones lodged inside his right kidney so that this can never happen again. As for his next bout, Mitrione wants to be rebooked as soon as possible.
“I have not been rebooked, but if Fedor wants to wait until May or June, if that’s what his heart is, then that’s cool. I’m not going to wait that long,” Mitrione said. “I’m going to try to get in there and get some work. So I’m asking Bellator to try to book me as soon as possible, and if we can do that, I’ll pass whatever kind of medicals I need to pass and Bellator will take (care of) all the worries that they have to take, and I understand it and it’s reasonable, so they’ll do everything they have to do and I’ll get it passed, and hopefully I’ll get in there as soon as possible. I’ve already been out for seven months, right? Eight months?
“I don’t want to wait. I compete. I live to compete and to be a father. So for me, I’m going to be a dad all the time, but I don’t do well sitting on the shelf. A rolling stone gathers no moss, so let me work, baby. Let me work. I’m not worried about losing. That’s not a thought in my mind. I feel like I’m better than I’ve ever been in my life and y’all would’ve seen that, and I understand it’s easy to say right now, but I’m pretty damn good.”
Will Matt Mitrione face Fedor Emelianenko the next time we see him in a Bellator cage?
“I believe Fedor wants to fight me, so I believe that fight is on the table,” Mitrione said. “And when Fedor feels prepared, wants to come back, wants to sign a contract to fight whenever, I’m the name he’s going to ask for to be on that contract, and I’m going to be there to sign it again.”