The UFC’s terrible trend of having athletes fighting while injured has happened again. After former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw revealed to have dislocated his shoulder numerous times ahead of his match at UFC 280 and ended up having a subpar performance against Aljamain Sterling because of it, a new, though not as bad example of the problem took place at UFC 289.
Belbita had a nearly broken foot at UFC 289
Though strawweight Diana Belbita did score a victory at the first fight of UFC 289, pundits and fans alike agreed that it was not a pretty one. After going three rounds against Maria Oliveira (who claims she only started her camp for the fight on May 24), the ‘Warrior Princess’ may have saved her job with a unanimous decision win.
In her post-fight interview, Belbita told former UFC double champion and analyst Daniel Cormier about the issues she had gone through ahead of the fight and hindered her performance. According to the strawweight, she had a nearly fractured foot, which prevented her from throwing kicks. Nevertheless, the Warrior Princess praised her team for their support and was pleased about the win.
“Lately I’ve been through so many bad things. I had a broken foot. A lot of trouble. My team here. These guys, my corner. They supported me no matter what. I knew my left foot was almost broken. I couldn’t throw any kicks and I knew that, with them, I don’t need to be 100% in this cage right now. I don’t know who is next. I don’t care who is in front of me. Usually, I just focus on what I have to do right now and I will let everything else for tomorrow.”
Does the UFC even check feet? A veteran says they don’t
The bit in Belbita’s UFC 289 interview when she speaks about fighting injured did not go unnoticed by people watching the event live. On Twitter, Bloody Elbow posted the quote in which the strawweight mentioned her nearly fractured foot, which led MMA Fighting’s reported Alexander K Lee to question the legitimacy of the UFC’s pre-fight medical exams.
“I need to know what the medical tests look like for UFC fighters, because how do these kinds of things keep getting cleared?” Lee wrote.
In a reply to Lee’s tweet, Octagon veteran Jesse Ronson shared a personal experience of his on the matter. According to the Canadian, it seems that the promotion’s pre-fight exams are not as thorough as one would expect, as he claims to have fought Francisco Trinaldo with a broken foot and or ankle due to the lacking tests they ran on him at the time.
“They don’t check your feet during medicals. I fought Trinaldo with a broken foot/ankle back in the day. They checked your heart rate, blood pressure, eyes. (They) make you do a squat andb breathe with the stethoscope. End story.” Wrote Ronson.
The fight against Trinaldo led to Ronson’s second loss in his first UFC stint, when he dropped a split decision to the Brazilian in February 2014. The Canadian would go on to drop another split decision to Kevin Lee in his following outing, which led to his release.
In 2020, the now 37-year-old was hired again, but after a win that got overturned when the ‘Body Snatcher’ tested positive for a banned substance and two finish losses in a row, to Rafa Garcia and Joaquim Silva, Ronson was cut a second time in 2022.
Meanwhile, Diana Belbita may have saved her job at UFC 289. Prior to the win over Oliveira, the Warrior Princess was 1-3 in her last four outings, with losses to Gloria de Paula, Liana Jojua and Molly McCann. The 26-year-old’s sole win during this time was a unanimous decision one over Hannah Goldy in July 2021.
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