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Bryce Mitchell Will Not Be Silenced

'Thug Nasty' believes his purpose in life extends beyond MMA. 'Shut up and fight' is not an option.

LAS VEGAS – As Bryce Mitchell nears the biggest fight of his career, facing a proven contender in a featured bout of a major UFC pay-per-view event, the spotlight focused on “Thug Nasty” continues to intensify.

The undefeated featherweight has used much of the new attention not just to further his career but also to discuss his political beliefs, a practice that has begun to bring him his share of criticism along with some added support. But Mitchell said despite some pushback, he isn’t planning to stop the discussions anytime soon.

“I want to talk about things that I think are political, but I want to do it in a respectful manner, not to make other people think that I think that they’re stupid,” Mitchell told The Underground. “I want to share my beliefs and hear other people’s beliefs, and maybe their beliefs can sway mine a little bit. Maybe not. Maybe I can out-debate them, you know?”

At Wednesday’s media day at the UFC Apex, Mitchell (14-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) was on hand to help preview his UFC 272 matchup with veteran striker Edson Barboza (22-10 MMA, 16-10 UFC), which streams live Saturday on ESPN+ pay-per-view from T-Mobile Arena.

But given an opportunity to share some of his current political concerns, he was happy to offer up his thoughts.

“You have people out there being oppressed by governments,” Mitchell said. “S---, we fall into that category, believe it or not. If you want me to get real political, the Federal Reserve is a corrupt institution. There, I went out and said it, you know?

“These people control our dollar, brother, and we didn’t vote for them. Think about it. You’ve got 13 board members voting on the value of the dollar. Did we vote for that? No, it’s corrupted.”

For the record, Federal Reserve board members are appointed by sitting U.S. Presidents and then approved by the Senate. What does any of that have to do with Mitchell’s career as a prizefighter? In some ways, not much, but that’s exactly the point, he says.

“For me to actually be able to talk about something greater than fighting is more purposeful than anything I could talk about related to fighting,” Mitchell said. “I’m grateful to be able to do that, and a lot of people say, ‘Shut up and fight.’ Well, you know what, if you don’t want to hear that s---, turn off the TV and watch the fight.

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“You don’t got to watch my interviews. Turn them off, then. If instead of telling me to shut up, why don’t you just stop listening, you know, because there’s a lot of people that agree with what I’m saying about some of my political views, and I’m happy to talk about them and debate about it.”

Bryce Mitchell faces Edson Barboza at Saturday's UFC 272 at T-Mobile Arena. 

Bryce Mitchell faces Edson Barboza at Saturday's UFC 272 at T-Mobile Arena. 

Will Mitchell’s approach eventually backfire in his professional career? It’s possible. After all, fighters’ compensation opportunities generally increase as they grow a loyal following. Mitchell seems to be rubbing many people the wrong way with his views, something that could potentially cost him fans over time.

But the 27-year-old Arkansas native isn’t interested in silencing himself in favor of mass approval.

“There was some wise dude way back in the day – it was either Socrates or Plato or Hippocrates or somebody, but he said, ’If you do not partake in your government, you will be ruled by people who are stupider than you,’” Mitchell said. “That’s what he said. Now it was give or take a couple of words. It was paraphrased, but if we the people do not choose and are not active in conversations about what’s going on in our government, well than these idiots are going to control everything we do and we won’t have a say in it.

“So, yeah, I’m political because these people control me, and then you want to tell me that I can’t talk and I have to shut up and fight and I can’t talk about – no, I’m controlled completely by the government. I’m controlled completely by the value of the dollar because I get paid in dollars, OK? I don’t get paid in pure gold. I get paid in dollars, and so in my opinion, I have a say about political issues.”

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