‘I thought about quitting many times’ – Gilbert Burns details shoulder injury, avoids surgery after UFC 288

Gilbert Burns has provided an update on the shoulder injury he suffered against Belal Muhammad at UFC 288.

By: Kristen King | 4 weeks ago
‘I thought about quitting many times’ – Gilbert Burns details shoulder injury, avoids surgery after UFC 288
Gilbert Burns throws a punch at Belal Muhammad at UFC 288 | IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Gilbert Burns says he has found a silver lining in his loss to Belal Muhammad at UFC 288 this past Saturday. Ahead of the fight, ‘Durinho’ hoped to potentially vault himself in front of former UFC interim champion Colby Covington, who was promised a championship opportunity against Leon Edwards for his next fight. With a win against Muhammad, the Brazilian would have earned his third consecutive win this year. 

Gilbert Burns recalls moment he suffered shoulder injury at UFC 288

Unfortunately, Burns’ hopes were dashed in the first round of his fight. In his first exclusive interview, the Kill Cliff FC fighter detailed the exact moment he suffered the shoulder injury that left him compromised against Muhammad. 

“He got the distance really quick and I was looking to counter his shots with a takedown, and whenever he tried to kick, I tried to jump to takedown, and I got to his waist, I kind of jumped to get the good timing, but I did it wrong with my legs,” said Burns on his official YouTube channel. “He sprawled back a little bit and did a down block and I landed right on my left shoulder. All my weight, all Belal Muhammad’s weight was on my left shoulder. From there on it was hard to clear my mind and accept that I was hurt.”

Gilbert Burns briefly thought about quitting at UFC 288

Gilbert Burns alerted his corner that something was wrong with his left shoulder, as evidenced by his slowed activity. He soldiered on throughout the rest of the fight, but Burns lost to Muhammad via unanimous decision. 

Though throwing in the towel was an option for Burns, he decided against it after considering everything he went through to get this fight to happen on short notice. When the original co-headliner—Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush—was canceled, the 36-year-old campaigned for the potential No. 1 contender, so squandering that opportunity was out of the question.

“It was good to have my coaches in there. Henri [Hooft] was the one that kept me going. I thought about quitting many times,” said Burns. “I didn’t quit, but I thought about it. It was that mental battle. I was even listening to his corner a lot, and his corner was like, ’Now he’s hurt. Go forward and try to finish him.’ And I was just listening to them, saying, ‘There’s no way he’s going to finish me right now.’

“It’s just part of me. Part of me doesn’t want to quit. Even though I thought about it, the way out was right there, there’s something in me that was like, ‘No, we’re not quitting. There’s no way this guy is going to finish you.’”

Gilbert Burns avoids surgery

Fortunately, Burns has avoided surgery. After visiting a doctor and getting an MRI, the former one-time UFC title challenger revealed the extent of the damage he suffered. Among his injuries are a second-to-third-grade AC joint tear, a deltoid tear, a torn trapezius muscle, and neck sprains on his C-4 and C-5 — none of which need surgery. 

“All of those are partial. Nothing major,” said Burns. “Thank God I don’t need no surgery. I’m taking a strong inflammatory. I’ve been sleeping most of the time. As of right now, it doesn’t hurt because I’m taking a lot of medicine, but it is so swollen in this area.

“The good news is I don’t need surgery,” continued Burns. “It’s going to be between two to three months recovery. I’ve got to do a lot of rest the first three weeks. I don’t think I even have PT. I’m just going to get a brace [for my arm]. And that’s it. There’s not much to do. The good thing was it was all partial.”

As he stays on the sidelines for several months, Burns says that he hopes to return at the end of the year.

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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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