There’s an old African myth about a place where elephants instinctively go to die, an “elephant graveyard” where scavengers hungry for ivory can just rummage through the ancient bones and take what they want.
Now replace the word “graveyard” with “Bellator heavyweight tournament”, and replace elephant with “former UFC heavyweight”, and you have Bellator 194’s main event between Roy Nelson and Matt Mitrione.
(You actually have an analogy that fits for Bellator and all the former UFC fighters they’ve signed, but that’s not where I’m going with this. Let’s stick with the Nelson/Mitrione fight.)
Yes, it’s another installment of the most interesting thing Bellator has going, although the tournament does have a bunch of guys who made their names as light-heavyweights (like Chael Sonnen and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson”, whose fight at Bellator 192 was pretty “meh”).
Since leaving the UFC and coming to Bellator, Mitrione has strung together a trio of wins, including one over *sob* Fedor Emelianenko.
Nelson, meanwhile, notched a win over Javy Ayala at Bellator 183, which has as much value as holding a win over a corpse. But whatever. This fight is about a TUF winner and a TUF washout doing it all again, with Mitrione doing his best not to let the 2012 beating he took at a TUF Finale repeat itself.
What’s going to happen this time around? Look, Nelson threw his last, great punch back in 2014 against “Big ‘Nog”, and it’s been all about the hugging game after that. We’ll see if Mitrione can land something to prevent that.
Either way, though, both men have come to the elephant graveyard to die, their long, productive lives as UFC heavyweights behind them. Now it’s up to us as MMA fans/scavengers to pick through their bones and get some shiny ivory.
Hooray for ivory!
Here’s a Countdown vid Bellator has put out in their honor.