MMA ODDS AND ENDS FOR THURSDAY: JULIANNA PENA OUT FOR TWO YEARS FOLLOWING CATASTROPHIC KNEE INJURY

MMA ODDS AND ENDS FOR THURSDAY: JULIANNA PENA OUT FOR TWO YEARS FOLLOWING CATASTROPHIC KNEE INJURY

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Among the UFC’s brightest young stars is hurt, and as stated by the company president she’s likely to be out of commission for a couple of years. It was yesterday revealed by UFC Tonight that TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena endured a catastrophic injury to her right knee during training that led to tears for her ACL, MCL, LCL, meniscus, and hamstring. MMAFighting.com reported that the injury happened during a grappling session Monday in Sikjitsu fitness center in Spokane, Washington. In accordance with UFC president Dana White, the injury is so severe that the 24-year-old Pena is expected to miss a couple of years of actions. She is set to get surgery on the knee following week once the swelling goes down. This is very sad news and everyone in the MMA world should want Pena a quick recovery because she embarks on what is going to be a dark period in her life as she won’t be able to compete at the game she enjoys just at the time she was starting to get really good at it. According to her official biography on UFC.com, Pena said,”After I discovered MMA I understood it was the socket I needed and was looking for.” About fighting in the Octagon, Pena stated:”This means the world to me to be more fighting in the UFC. This is as large as it gets, it doesn’t get any higher, and I’ve made it. It’s a fantastic accomplishment for myself.” However, for the next little while, she won’t have MMA in her entire life. Nicknamed”The Venezuelan Vixen,” Pena entered TUF 18 with a 4-2 record and was paired up against veteran Shayna Baszler in the preliminary round after beating Gina Mazany to enter the house. Despite being a massive underdog into Baszler, Pena managed to rally after being down early to conquer Baszer via second-round submission. She then submitted Sara Moras in the semifinals to earn a birth in the finale, and she won the show last November with a dominating first-round TKO win over Jessica Rakoczy. Currently ranked in the top 10 of those women’s bantamweight division, Pena was set to face Jessica Andrade in UFC 171 that March before being forced to pull out with this knee injury. Andrade will face Raquel Pennington. UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani was able to speak to Pena’s trainer at Sikjitsu, Rick Little, who said the injury Pena suffered was the”most grisly” he’d ever seen in sports. According to Little, Pena’s injury was the result of an over-aggressive training session, which seems strange given the seriousness of the accident. Based on White’s tweet that”what happened at her gym is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever noticed,” there’s obviously much more to the story. There’s already speculation that this wasn’t only an accident, but that somebody in Pena’s camp held to a submission overly long, possibly a heel hook which is highly frowned upon to perform while training with teammates. That is just speculation for now, though, though I really don’t by for a moment that this injury was just an accident based on what White’s tweet. It was much more inclined carelessness was the trigger. This is very disappointing news as I think Pena was a upcoming title contender in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Pena’s wrestling is exceptional and she is improving her overall game so quickly that she’d be a serious contender for the UFC bantamweight title within the next couple of decades. Keep in mind her beef with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey from the series meant she would have been pushed up the ladder faster than others. But this harm will obviously delay that opportunity to fight for the belt, and it’s possible the injury renders that dream impossible. For somebody who’s just 24, it’s really not reasonable that Pena has needed to deal with so many injuries and bad luck as such a young age. Before TUF 18 was first filmed, Pena was involved in a horrible car accident which left her with a broken nose. She had suffered a broken arm one of her struggles, in addition to the preceding two ACL tears earlier in her career. But that is life, and life is not fair. Pena was employed as a waitress before TUF and living at home with her family. Together with her career just about to take off, Pena had been anticipating moving out and embarking on a promising career in the sport. Now, she’ll be outside sitting on the sidelines for around the next 24 month after suffering one of the worst knee injuries ever to a UFC fighter, and she will have difficulty making a living while doing so. I hope that the UFC assists out Pena financially during her time off because, after all, she is an investment for the corporation. The UFC does have an insurance plan which should cover a portion of Pena’s surgery, but it is capped at $50,000 yearly and might not cover all of Pena’s medical-related expenses. So the UFC can do the right thing and help her out in her time of need. We get the complete story about what happened to Pena soon, but for today let’s all desire Pena great luck on her surgery next week and let’s hope she is able to beat the projected two year layoff and get back into the cage earlier than later because she’s a huge fighter and has a bright future in the sport.

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