Featherweight standout Bryce Mitchell (13-0) returns to action at UFC Vegas 12 this Saturday. And despite his perfect record as a pro and impressive run in the UFC so far, half the talk is about his shorts.
Mitchell knows he has a tough fight ahead against Andre Fili. A fighter he told Cageside Press during this week’s UFC Vegas 12 media day is “durable,” not to mention “crafty” and “tricky.”
“He’s long. He’s pretty well rounded. And that’s why it’s hard to beat him, that’s why not a lot of people have beat him,” observed Mitchell. “And the people that have beat him, he was doing pretty good before they beat him. So I go out there and beat him in dominant fashion, that’s something nobody’s ever done before.”
But there’s that other thing he’s doing that nobody’s ever done before — getting Reebok to bow to pressure and produce the fight shorts he’s long desired. That’s that big news ahead of Mitchell’s return, despite his impressive showing in the featherweight division. The Arkansas native is the rare fighter to have managed to convince Reebok to bend to his will — just before the end of their deal to outfit UFC athletes.
While it felt like it started out with a joke, “I was dead serious,” said Mitchell, asked about campaigning to get the shorts made. “I was wanting to camo shorts and I was 100% gonna wear them. And I just figured that they wasn’t gonna let me, so I was gonna have to wear them illegally.”
Mitchell had an entire scenario play out in his head, where he walked to the cage in sweats, and pulled them off to reveal camo shorts — only to wind up with security guards chasing him around the cage, trying to enforce the UFC’s outfitting policy. “I’m really glad that that didn’t have to happen. I’m really glad that they gave me the camo shorts, and I could do the whole thing legally because they probably would have sued me, or definitely would have fired me. And I’m really glad that didn’t happen.”
If you want to know why the shorts even matter, Mitchell explained that “I wanted to do something representing where I’m from and the people that I love, everything that I love. And I can’t think of a better way to do it than with a pair of shorts that says something about me. That’s what the camo shorts mean to me, they represent the stuff that I love.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 12 virtual media day press scrum with Bryce Mitchell above.