Matt Mitrione files appeal with Massachusetts commission over Travis Browne loss due to eye gouges, referee incompetence

Matt Mitrione

Matt Mitrione is appealing his loss to Travis Browne at UFC Fight Night 81 due to a multitude of infractions in the bout, and the questionable officiating of referee Gary Forman throughout the fight.

In a 12-page letter to the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission, Mitrione and his attorneys lay out their case in detail, and will appeal with video evidence to support the detailed list of rules infractions.

Mitrione was gouged in his right eye several times during the bout, and the damage was later exacerbated with a strike that broke the orbital bone and swelled his eye up in horrific fashion. He wound up losing by TKO in the third round after the damage done, along with a shoulder injury he suffered after the infractions.

Mitrione’s appeal (read in full at this link via MMA writer Duane Finley) argues that Forman failed to properly assess the eye gouges, that he failed to direct Browne to a neutral corner, that he essentially told Mitrione it was his fault and discouraged him from moving forward, and that he didn’t apply the rules to stop the fight in the second round. That final point is of considerable contention, as they argue that the fight should have been stopped on the last eye gouge late in the second round, as the referee didn’t halt the action until more than 30 seconds after it happened. At that point, especially with Mitrione telling the doctor that he couldn’t see, the fight should have been called and deemed at worst a no contest due to the foul.

That the fight continued led to even further damage, and his camp argues that the final minute of round two and the entirety of the action in the third should be disregarded due to Forman’s bungled handling of his duties. They attack Forman further, providing evidence of prior concern over his abilities as a referee and being licensed by the commission despite also being an MMA promoter by proxy of his wife in the state.

Mitrione will await a response and hopeful hearing from the commission to determine the eventual outcome. They seek the fight being overturned to a disqualification win in his favor, or at the very least a “no contest.”

Penick’s Analysis: There’s an extremely compelling case made by Mitrione and his team in this appeal, but it requires an athletic commission to not only recognize and accept wrongdoing and failure on the part of one of their officials, but on them as a commission for licensing him in the first place. That’s a hard sell and isn’t likely to be accepted on his face. If it were a fair hearing and his rightful concerns were addressed, then he’d have a shot at getting the bout overturned. There’s no reason to be optimistic about that, unfortunately, and I wouldn’t expect this to ultimately work out in his favor.

[Photo (c) Bob DeChiara via USA Today Sports]

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