BOSTON — Boos started to echo throughout TD Garden on Sunday night after the Travis Browne-Matt Mitrione fight was stopped for a second time.
Browne had just poked Mitrione’s eye again, and the UFC Fight Night Boston crowd was voicing its disapproval with the heavyweight fighter. However, doctors looked at and cleared Mitrione, and the fight went on without any penalties assessed to Browne.
“I don’t think it was something that needed to be a point taken away,” Browne said. “Again, I wasn’t moving forward, I wasn’t going after (the eye). But that’s why the referee’s in there. I mean, he warned me a couple — on the last time, he was like, ‘Next time, I’m taking a point.’ So I did what I could do to not let that happen again.”
Browne went on to win by TKO in Round 3, but that was after he landed yet another blow to Mitrione’s eye, although this one was in the form of a devastating hit — not a poke — to the area.
Mitrione’s eye became extremely swollen following the hit, but it was unclear if the pokes played a part, too. UFC president Dana White put an end to those questions, though, with his response during the post-fight press conference.
“They showed it on instant replay in slo motion,” White said. “Before he hit him, the eye was fine. When he hit him, the eye just started to swell up and well right up.”
And it sure did swell up.
Mitrione later sent out a series of tweets describing the severity of the injury and how much the pokes played a factor in the fight.
But if you ask Browne, there is no controversy surrounding the eye pokes, and one reporter found that out the hard way at the post-fight press conference.
Reporter: Are you just happy to put this behind you and try to climb up the rankings again? Or if the promotion suggested some sort of a rematch, how would you think about that?
Browne: Rematch with who.
Reporter: Rematch with Matt.
Browne: A rematch with Matt?
Reporter: Yeah, on account of maybe some of the controversy. Just to put it to rest.
Browne: Is there that much controversy about the fight?
Reporter: On the Internet.
Browne: What about to you?
Reporter: It was weird. I wasn’t in the cage, so I couldn’t tell you.
Browne: Well, neither was anybody else, but you said there’s controversy. So what do you think?
Reporter: So I think it felt like the referee didn’t take the second eye poke as seriously as he could’ve.
Browne: So when a guy jumps in on someone else that’s defending themselves, you think that’s necessary when they’re not doing it intentionally?
Reporter: It’s up to the commission, I guess, to have to set these rules.
Browne: Yeah, the commission and refs. So I don’t understand the controversy.
So maybe controversy is too strong of a word for what happened between Browne and Mitrione. But that doesn’t erase the brutally graphic photos that fans saw of Mitrione’s swollen eye, no matter how it happened.
Thumbnail photo Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Travis Browne and Matt Mitrione at UFC Fight Night Boston
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