Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will hold a media conference call today (Dec. 10, 2012) in advance of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 16 Live Finale for "Nelson vs. Mitrione," which will take place this Saturday night (Dec. 15) at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nelson was the winner of TUF 10 and has had a solid career in the UFC thus far, although he's come up short every time he's reached the top of the division, losing to elite heavyweights Frank Mir, Junior dos Santos and Fabricio Werdum. He scored a vicious knockout victory over Dave Herman in his last Octagon appearance and was expecting to face Shane Carwin after coaching against him on TUF 16, but an injury forced "The Engineer" out of the finale.
Mitrione was a fellow contestant on TUF season 10 and has actually spent his entire professional career inside the UFC. He won his first five fights but was finally upended via decision by Cheick Kongo over a year ago and has not fought since, although he was expected to fight this past August but his opponent pulled out with an injury. Mitrione stepped up when Shane Carwin went down due to injury and is hoping to secure a defining victory in his UFC career against "Big Country."
Brian Hemminger here. The conference call is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. ET.
Roy Nelson: I asked Matt and it's either yes or no. So far it's 0 for 2 with the testing.
Mike Ricci: It's not the first time I've had my country on my back but this time, I'll make the outcome different.
Colton Smith: I caught some flack for the decision to shoot for a takedown during the glove tap in my first fight on the show.
Roy Nelson: The UFC is a great marketing machine. They're just waiting for the DVD where they can say Roy has five Ultimate Fighter winners and champions and Royce Gracie and stuff to get people to buy the DVD.
Roy Nelson: The biggest thing we switched up was Shane and Matt are two different fighters. One's a southpaw and one's orthodox. Matt actually asked for this fight so it's more personal.
Mike Ricci: It's great being closer to Rory. Being friends with him, we're able to sit back and discuss our opinions on training and having Georges and Firas to guide us, we're being put on the right path and being taken care of.
Colton Smith: It was a great experience. Roy brought in so many unbelievable coaches, Rashad Evans, the scrap pack, Royce Gracie and guys my size who have made it to the top. It was a great thing. Nothing negative should ever come from being on The Ultimate Fighter unless you get kicked out or act a fool.
Mike Ricci: I think The Ultimate Fighter is a great format. You get to fight so frequently. I knew it was gonna happen going into it and I would miss home and being taken out of my element.
Colton Smith: The way they portray certain people on the show. They showed some guys too much and not enough. They didn't show enough training on both sides. Team Carwin had a really structured schedule and I was anxious to see their side but I didn't get to see it.
Mike Ricci: I understand they can't show everything since it's two months of filming but they didn't portray things exactly as the way they were.
Colton Smith: I helped Tim Kennedy prepare for a fight and I spent time with my family, my wife and kids. I got back to training with Tim and Andrew Craig and they helped me evolve as a fighter. It was kind of a shock, people contacting you and coming out of the woodworks. Dana sat us down and told us to remember who our friends and family were and keep them. I've been staying really level headed and nothing really changed in my life. I'm just training harder and trainign with better people.
Mike Ricci: Coming out of the house I had a bit of a social shock. I had a large circle of friends and coming back to the city took some adjusting. I was used to a hostile situation where I was constantly sizing people up and bracing to fight on one day's notice. People being nice to you and showing affection again took some getting used to. I had some readjusting to do and after that, things went back to normal.
Matt Mitrione: Roy asked me, he tweeted it the day he sent it, probably a week and a half ago, 10 days ago. I had a bunch of other things going on and felt it was a distraction and didn't want to deal with it. I'm not opposed to it. I was so invested in this fight that I turned my twitter off. I didn't want to deal with distraction. I was training for a five round fight and wanted to make sure I didn't have any distractions.
Roy Nelson: The difference between coaching and competing is you have one goal, to win. As a coach, you're trying to get eight guys to win and it's up to them with who wants it more. Before, you only have to depend on yourself. Bringing coaches and stuff like that, I wanted to bring Mo Lawal in and Chael and a couple other ones that had scheduling conflicts.
Roy Nelson: I figured Shane would pull out of the fight. This isn't the first time he's done it. I just didn't know when or where it would happen. One guy's a southpaw, one guy's orthodox. I can get a better camp than Shane Carwin and I think I'm getting a light version of Alistair Overeem with Matt Mitrione.
Mike Ricci: I didn't like the experience regardless, win or lose. Winning and having the outcome I had made it easier to cope with. I feel like I at least gained something for when I went through. I have been vocal about not enjoying my experience there and I stand by that. I didn't enjoy it one bit.
Mike Ricci: That's the beauty of TUF. You get to watch your opponent fight live and if you made it to the finale, you see your opponent fight four times. I don't think he lost a round and I haven't taken him lightly. I know he's a good fighter and I know what I have to do to prepare for Saturday.
Mike Ricci: When I left the house, it was a decision I had to make whether or not to put on weight or go back down to 155. I decided I like the way I feel walking around at 178 but I'll go back down to lightweight once this is all over.
Colton Smith: The scrap pack and Rashad Evans helped me a lot with my game. Jake Shields has a very pressure oriented game. That's something I want to emulate. As far as Rashad Evans goes, I was very impressed with his coaching abilities. That was an eye opener for me and something to put in my toolbag.
Mike Ricci: We didn't really bring anybody in. We had Nate Marquardt, Lester Bowling, Pat Barry and Trevor Wittman and all those guys were giving us great advice throughout the show. I learned a lot more than I expected coming from the camp I come from with the training partners I have. I learned a lot.
That's a wrap folks. Thanks for tuning in!