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

Among the UFC’s brightest young stars is hurt, and according to the company president she’s going to be out of commission for two decades. It was revealed by UFC Tonight which TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena endured a devastating injury to her right knee during training that resulted in tears for her ACL, MCL, LCL, meniscus, and hamstring. MMAFighting.com reported that the injury occurred during a grappling session on 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 decades of action. She’s set to get surgery on the knee following week when the swelling goes down. This is quite sad news and everybody in the MMA world should wish Pena a quick recovery as she embarks on what is going to be a dark time in her life as she won’t be able to compete in the sport 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,”When I found MMA I realized it was the outlet I needed and was looking for.” About battling in the Octagon, Pena said:”It means the world to me to be more fighting in the UFC. This is as high as it gets, it will not get any higher, and I’ve made it. It is a fantastic achievement for myself.” However, for the upcoming time, she will not have MMA within her entire life. Nicknamed”The Venezuelan Vixen,” Pena entered TUF 18 with a 4-2 record and was paired up against veteran Shayna Baszler from the preliminary round after beating Gina Mazany to enter the home. Despite being a massive underdog to Baszler, Pena was able to rally after being down early to conquer Baszer through second-round submission. She subsequently submitted Sara Moras in the semifinals to earn a birth in the finale, and she won the show this past November with a dominating first-round TKO win over Jessica Rakoczy. Currently ranked in the top 10 of the women’s bantamweight division, Pena had been set to confront Jessica Andrade in UFC 171 that March prior to being forced to pull out this knee injury. Andrade will now face Raquel Pennington. UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani managed to talk to Pena’s coach at Sikjitsu, Rick Little, who said the harm Pena endured was the”most grisly” he had ever seen in sports. According to Little, Pena’s harm was the consequence of an over-aggressive training session, which seems strange given the seriousness of this injury. According to White’s tweet that”what occurred at her gym is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever noticed,” there’s obviously more to the story. There’s already speculation that this wasn’t just an crash, but that someone at Pena’s camp held to a entry too long, maybe a heel hook that’s highly frowned upon to do while training with teammates. That’s only speculation for now, though, although I really don’t by for a moment that this injury was only an accident based on what White’s tweet. It was considerably more likely carelessness was the trigger. This is extremely disappointing news as I believe Pena was a upcoming title contender in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Pena’s wrestling is excellent and she is improving her entire game so rapidly that she’d be a serious contender for the UFC bantamweight title within the next couple of years. Keep in mind her beef with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey in the show supposed she’d have been pushed up the ladder quicker than many others. But this harm will clearly delay that chance to fight for the belt, and it is possible that the injury renders that dream hopeless. For somebody who’s just 24, it’s really not reasonable that Pena has needed to deal with all these injuries and bad fortune as such a young age. Before TUF 18 was filmed, Pena had been involved in a nasty car accident which left her with a broken nose. She had suffered a broken arm in one of her struggles, as well as the previous two ACL tears before in her career. But that’s life, and life is not fair. Pena was employed as a waitress before TUF and also living at home with her loved ones. With her career just about to remove, Pena had been looking forward to moving out and embarking on a promising career in the sport. Now, she will be outside sitting on the sidelines for around the next 24 month after suffering one of the worst knee injuries ever into a UFC fighter, and she will have trouble making a living while doing this. I hope that the UFC assists out Pena financially through her time off because, after all, she is an investment to the corporation. The UFC does have an insurance plan that should pay a portion of Pena’s operation, but it’s capped at $50,000 yearly and may not cover all Pena’s medical-related expenses. So the UFC can do exactly the perfect thing and help her out in her time of need. Hopefully we get the full story about what happened to Pena soon, but for now let’s all desire Pena good luck on her operation next week and let us hope she can beat the projected two year layoff and get back in the crate sooner than later because she is a tremendous fighter and has a bright future in the game.

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