You already recognize some of names and faces from the upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” but there’s a lot you probably still don’t know about this group of 16 heavyweight warriors. We’ve been introducing you to two castmembers of “The Ultimate Fighter Heavyweights” every day for more than a week. Today, FIGHT! reveals our our TUF bloggers, Matt Mitrione and Abe Wagner.
Weight: 275 lbs
Hometown: Springfield, Ill.
Trains: Indianapolis, Ind. with Integrated Fighting Academy
MMA Record: 0-0
A two-position (defensive tackle and full back) All-American at Sacred Heart Griffin High School in Springfield, Ill., Matt Mitrione played d-tackle for Purdue University where he finished seventh on the Boilermakers career tackles for loss list. He earned All-Big Ten honors in 2000 during his final year at Purdue and despite going undrafted, he earned his way into the NFL as a free agent and played six seasons as a member of the New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings, and San Francisco 49ers. As a member of the Giants, Mitrione suffered a horrific foot injury during a 2003 playoff loss to the 49ers and it took seven surgeries and a 16-month stint on crutches before he was able to return to the field. In 2006, Mitrione left football and began to pursue other interests, creating a sports nutrition company called Engineer Design Nutrition, or EDN.
As a teenager in Illinois, Mitrione practiced shooto and other combat sports but was prohibited from them in college due to his football scholarship. He returned to combat sport training and took up mixed martial arts and began training in Indianapolis with Ultimate Fighting Championship veterans Chris Lytle and Jake O’Brien.