MMA fighting

Matt Mitrione among 3 fighters released after Bellator 262

Veteran MMA heavyweight Matt Mitrione has been released from his contract after his fifth consecutive defeat in the Bellator cage.

A promotion manager has confirmed the exit of MMA Fighting Mitrione, which was among three staff cuts after Bellator 262 last Friday at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. Ronny Markes and Adil Benjilany have also been released from the contract.

Mitrione suffered strikes from Tyrell Fortune at 1:45 of the first round of their main co-event fight. Mitrione complained of a heads-up clash just before a flurry of strikes that produced the finish.

The finish marked the third straight stopping loss for Mitrione, who lost fights to Timothy Johnson and Sergei Kharitonov in his two previous outings. A decision loss to former two-division champion Ryan Bader and a non-contest due to a groin strike from Kharitonov sparked Mitrione’s slide.

After signing with Bellator in 2016, Mitrione earned four straight wins, including a knockout of Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator NYC. A former NFL player, he started his career in the UFC after playing on The Ultimate Fighter 10 and picked up victories over Kimbo Slice and current interim UFC title challenger Derrick Lewis before a two-fight slippage led to his departure.

Markes was knocked out in 69 seconds by his former training partner, Said Sowma. It was his second straight loss to the Bellator and his fourth loss in five fights after a stint in the PFL.

Adil Benjilany, meanwhile, picked up a lackluster victory over Johnny Soto to improve his Bellator record to 3-2.