Geoff Neal crashed his way into the UFC welterweight rankings last year behind a pair of highlight wins. The Fortis MMA talent racked up a second round TKO over Niko Price in July of 2019, only to follow it with a quick first round KO over Mike Perry in December. Later this month, he looked ready to cement his spot in the top 10 against longtime veteran talent Neil Magny. Unfortunately his path to a UFC title shot is going to have to wait a little bit longer.
Late Sunday, August 9th, ‘Handz of Steel’ revealed that had spent the last week in the ICU. Needless to say, his fight with Magny had been cancelled.
“These past few week have been crazy, and that’s putting it lightly,” Neal wrote in a post on Instagram. “It’s really hard to try to find an eloquent way to say “I almost died.” So screw it.. I almost died…. This really put alot of things into perspective for me. Never did I ever think I would be hooked up to a dialysis machine before my 30s.”
In a recent interview with ESPN, Neal’s coach, Sayif Saud, revealed that while the exact cause is still unknown – he tested negative for COVID-19 – Neal was suffering from severe septic shock when he was admitted to the hospital on August 2nd. To the point that doctors say his heart almost failed.
“For two days, we didn’t know if he was gonna make it,” Saud said. “He went to the emergency room on Sunday [Aug. 2], he was septic by the time he got there. I spoke to the nurse and she says, ‘We need to take him to ICU right now, he’s in critical condition.’ That’s when my heart really sank.
“They said his white blood cell count was 20,000, when it’s supposed to be 12,000. His body was fighting something, but they didn’t know what it was. They still don’t.”
As Neal mentioned in his Instagram post, he’s now home from the hospital. Hopefully he can make a full recovery soon and return to competition.
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