MMA heavyweight fighter Travis Browne is facing another controversial issue, but this time with opponent Matt Mitrione.
Last Sunday during UFC Fight Night 81, Browne went up against Mitrione in an epic main card fight and won. However, the fight didn’t end without any issues. Browne was called out a couple of times because of eye poking instances, both of which weren’t penalized by referee Gary Forman.
Browne, however, clarified that these eye pokes were not intentional at all. He even apologized profusely to Mitrione when they were in the event, which was held at TD Garden in Boston.
“In the cage I was apologizing up and down to Matt. That’s not my game. I’m not a dirty fighter. Even in the fight, I’m like, ‘Matt, man, I’m really sorry, I’m not trying to do that.’ He’s like ‘I’m jumping in on you, I’m alright, that happens.’ You know what I mean? It’s just one of those things where, it’s an accident, you know what I mean?,” Browne said.
The first incident took place during the opening round of the MMA bout, when Mitrione charged forward catching Browne’s small finger in his right eye. During the second round, the same eye caught another finger, but this time its the thumb one. Browne said that both instances weren’t a conscious technique to knock Mitrione off his feet, but rather, a defensive reaction to his opponent’s blows.
“If you watch the fight, it’s not like I’m moving toward him trying to paw at him and poke his eye. t’s more like, I’m trying to back up and hold my hand out. Third round I finally started closing my fist. It’s just part of the game, I guess. There’s no malicious intent behind it,” Browne said.
The referee of the said event was also criticized for not handling the situation well as he didn’t give any penalty to Browne. He was also criticized for not acting quickly thus resulting to a second eye poke on Mitrione. Browne, however, emphasized that he has to abide with the referee’s decision no matter what.
“That’s why the referee’s in there. He warned me the last time: ‘Next time I’m taking a point.’ I did what I could do to not let that happen again. It was an accident. I don’t know what else to say,” he added.