Cagewriter - Mixed Martial Arts

One of the reasons The Ultimate Fighter 10 should be the best season the show has ever had are the backstories for some of the behemoths on the show. You think Kimbo Slice took an interesting path to the show? Former NFL defensive lineman Matt Mitrione can tell some good stories. He spent four injury plagued years in the league (2002-2005) playing alongside guys like Jeremy Shockey and Luke Petitgout. There was more downtime than football, including 16 months spent in solitude fighting off a potentially lethal bout of staph infection.

As taping began for TUF 10, the 6-foot-3 1/2, 274-pound Mitrione sat down with the media, talked about his injuries and what he's hoping is a quick transition to MMA. Mitrione (2-0) began training in December of 2008 with Indianapolis-based fighters Chris Lytle and Jake O'Brien. Now he's part of cast with pros like Roy Nelson and Wes Sims, who have a combined 52 professional fights.

Mitrione said he learned about himself during the downtime:

"I was really aggressive. I partied really hard which is probably one of the things that ended my [NFL] career short. I didn't very good care of my body. I learned really to take this very slowly."   

Mitrione was a star at Purdue under Joe Tiller but his NFL career was derailed by seven surgeries on his foot. He started his MMA career by taking a fight during a Jayson Werth produced fight card. Werth, an outfielder with the Philadelphia Phillies, grew up with Mitrione in Springfield, Illinois and owns a production company named 28 Productions.

Mitrione says in this Spike video that he'll punch Kimbo in the mouth.

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