Apologies will not change the outcome against Mike “The Wolverine” Rio. Fighting out of Championship Fighting Alliance, Rio (twitter: @MikeRioMMA) has been dominating the lightweight division along the Florida circuit. Developing a record of 3-1 in 2011, Rio’s only loss came by the hands of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 winner, Efrain Escudero at “CFA 2”.
In his most recent outing at “CFA 4,” Rio came out victorious in a last minute bout against Massachusetts native, John Ortolani, shortly after completing his tryouts for the fifteenth season of “TUF.” “I was in a situation where I needed to keep fighting and I didn’t want to sit out for too long,” Rio said to White Belt Radio which is heard exclusively on the MMA DieHards Radio Network.
“I know for a fact that the whole situation with the “TUF” takes a little while so I couldn’t sit out too long. I knew that I would have gotten the quick fight, took the fight, won the fight and came out with nothing hurt. Now I just wait and hope to either get a call-back or to hear really good news from the UFC.”
The experience of trying to make UFC’s reality show is a long, tough process that requires a level of patience and a certain demeanor. With the day starting at seven in the morning and concluding over 12-hours later, there was a lot of time for Rio to scope out the competition and prepare for the infamous, “interrogation round.”
“It is a huge honor to sit there with the people that could instantly change my life with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’,” Rio said. “But it is also a little bit nerve racking. A lot of people go in there trying too hard and they lose it, so just go in there and be yourself. I tried to stay calm, cool and collected while impressing them on the ground, impressing them with my hands and trying to sound intelligent and professional because I’m not that guy to start cursing people off.”
Taking a fight after the tryouts proved to be a beneficial gamble for “The Wolverine”, as if he lost, it may have ruined his chances at appearing on “TUF” or even with the UFC altogether. However, the well-rounded Rio knew that the calculated risk would pay off.
“Ortolani is extremely strong and very athletic,” Rio admitted. “But due to the situation that I was in – picking up a fight directly after the “TUF” tryouts – it was a make or break fight for me. So I went into this fight very safe and very calm because the last thing that I wanted to do was put a loss on my record that could change my life. I managed to win the fight in the first round with both of us taking minimal damage.”
Before the fight even took place, there was a battle pursuing within the social media world that got a little out of hand. When the fight was announced, friends and fans of both sides decided to show their support for their chosen fighter. When words became more serious and personal, Rio took notice, but took the bigger approach and turned a blind eye.
However, Ortolani took notice and attacked the situation head on, providing retribution in a way not typically undertaken by fighters.
“What happened was, when you get friends of fighters that are set to fight,” Rio explained. “They can tend to take it too far with the favoritism and messages being sent. One of John’s friends or acquaintances ended up cursing me out publically on Facebook, I saw it, but I don’t slander my opponents so I just let it slide.
“Apparently John Ortolani told his friend to remove the comment and he took it upon himself to email my mother and apologies for what was said. John Ortolani is a top notch guy to me; he’s a gentleman, 100%.”
In return, Mrs. Rio will be writing an apology letter to the UFC, for what her son is going to do to the lightweight division.