I have been training for close to 15 years… and I have dealt with a LOT of injuries. I think as your knowledge of the sport grows as a coach and competitor, so does your knowledge grow of dealing with and training around injuries. At this point in my life, its not IS something going to hurt today but WHAT is going to hurt the most and how am I going to train around it.
Its important to understand the difference between being injured and being hurt. Every fighter on the UFC roster, is constantly HURT. Hurt is what we call those nagging injuries that just never seem to heal and constantly flare up and inevitably get worse as soon as camp starts. Sore knees, ankles, hands, neck, back, etc. What would stop most people in their tracks, we push through because we always have fights coming up to get ready for.
This is hurt… I rolled my ankle sparring a few weeks before I fought Mac Danzig.
It looked much like this the next day… although this particular picture was from a few weeks before I fought Melvin Guillard.
And then there was my knee locking up… from just before the Chiesa fight… another “nagging injury”….
So these are typical “hurt” things that happen throughout training camp, that we push on through.
Now on the other hand, Injuries are when training is no longer possible… because something is seriously wrong.
This is a REAL contact sport… and injuries happen. We can try to lessen them… but they will never go away. When the New England Patriots have a player go down with an injury, the game still goes on and the team still plays… but that player still has am injury that has sidelined him for a long time. We are the entire team in our sport… so when we get injured, its over.
Kenny Florian recently tweeted and said it best, “As bummed as you & I are, the fighters who have been injured this year feel way, way worse.”
People love to complain that this is the fighters taking advantage of the UFC’s medical insurance, but that is crazy talk. It’s not that we are THRILLED to be hurt and off a card. We ultimately miss out on 1/2 to 1/3 of our yearly income… and in some cases, LOSE money by the time we pay coaches, buy fights etc. For this particular flight, I lost about $3,000 on flights alone. Does that seem like a situation where it helped me to not fight and pull out?
Let me set the stage for you from my perspective….
I am coming off a win over Mike Chiesa.
I am “healthy”.
I have 5 weeks to prepare for the fight.
We take the fight.
Two weeks in, I badly injure my ribs in sparring.
Had safe training partners.
Had lots of protective gear.
Was not overtraining.
Was being very smart about what we did.
Still got hurt.
I can’t train at all for 2+ weeks.
Fight is in 3 weeks.
Not possible to prepare.
Pull out of fight.
Internet ERUPTS with disappointment.
As Kenny pointed out, no one was more disappointed than me.
Diego was limping through camp too… I read that he had a knee injury. This is part of the sport, trying to make the best of the situation and going into a fight as healthy as possible.
Next time you are really looking forward to a fight… like I hope most of you were looking forward to Diego and I… and something happens… it’s okay to be disappointed a little bit… but realize what’s going on and stay positive that the fighter’s pulling out is not some master plan to dupe you… but its about the fighter’s honestly not being able to perform. Sometimes its a long time until they can fight again… sometimes its just a minor set back… but I assure you, they are thinking about nothing but getting back in there.