Graphic: Amateur fighter Joel Sanchez Paredes eats knee, gets jaw scrambled 

Joel Sanchez Paredes is officially on the list of ‘Worst MMA Injuries’ in 2023.

By: Kristen King | 10 months
Graphic: Amateur fighter Joel Sanchez Paredes eats knee, gets jaw scrambled 
Not the X-ray of Joel Sanchez Paredes. | IMAGO / Cavan Images

There was a warning in Joel Sanchez Paredes’ recent video.

“The actions in this video are performed by professionals or supervised by professionals. Do not attempt.”  

I, along with the other 6.6 million viewers, was curious. What should I not attempt? Once I got through the warning, I saw the caption: ‘So you [want to] be a fighter?’ And that was the first clue of where we were headed. 

Do you want to be a fighter?

UFC president Dana White asked that question during Season One of The Ultimate Fighter. In front of a cast that featured names such as Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar and Diego Sanchez, White delivered it during this speech: 

“This is a very, and when I say very—I can’t explain to you what a unique opportunity this is,” said White. “You have nothing to f-cking worry about every day, except coming in and getting better at what supposedly you want to do for a living. Big deal, the guy sleeping next to you f-cking stinks. He’s drunk all night, making noise and you can’t sleep. You got f-cking roommates. 

“We picked who we believe are the best guys in the country right now,” continued White. “We did. And you guys are it. F-cking act like it, man. Do you want to be a fighter? That’s the question. It’s not about cutting weight. It’s not about living in a f-cking house. It’s about do you want to be a fighter?” 

I always interpreted that as you have to give everything to be a fighter—blood, sweat and tears. And from what I saw in Paredes’ video, it is safe to say that he gave blood, sweat…and some of his jaw. The video started, and Paredes was jiggling his jaw around to show off the extent of the damage he had suffered a couple of days ago. That was the second clue, and I had officially entered ‘Worst MMA Injuries of 2023’ territory. 

Warning: Videos below are graphic. Please proceed with caution.

Xtreme Knockout held its most recent event—XKO 61—at Texas Live, in Arlington. One of the featured fights was Paredes versus Gilberto Melara—a fellow amateur in the Texas scene. Now we only get to see the fight-altering sequence, but honestly? That was all we needed. After Paredes and Melara exchanged some punches, the latter went for a flying knee. It connected, sending the former to the ground, where Melara followed up with some ground-and-pound. 

The video cut there, but as we have seen, that flying knee did a ton of damage to Paredes, who was left with a separate jaw that required surgery. In a follow-up video, ‘El Gallo’ showed off the new hardware in his mouth and revealed he had six weeks of recovery ahead of him. 

Ouch. 

Joel Sanchez Paredes answers the question

So does Paredes still want to be a fighter? Yes, he does. And once he recovers from jaw surgery, Paredes expects to return. 

“Hard times makes strong man,” wrote Paredes. “Thanks team I’ll be back soon.” 

Speedy recovery to Joel Sanchez Paredes!

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About the author
Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen has created ‘Fright of the Night,’ a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in the sport.

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