In a late night announcement via Youtube, a current UFC champion vacated their belt. Much like the way former light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka announced an injury and subsequently gave up his title, current 205-pound champion Jamahal Hill just detailed his own serious injury, then vacated his title, repeating the same unfortunate history of his predecessor not even a year later. For Prochazka, it was a shoulder injury, but for Hill, it’s a ruptured Achilles tendon.
In a six-plus-minute video, Jamahal Hill looked shaken and emotional as he struggled to find the words to let UFC fans know the bad news. Here’s our transcript of the video:
Jamahal Hill vacates the UFC light heavyweight belt
“Sweet Dreams Nation, what’s going on. I’m here with some news. I’m gonna be real right off the bat, this is not the good news that we all hope for. Everyone knows that I’ve been waiting for months now to face Jiri Prochazka to defend my belt and my title. And unfortunately, we’re gonna have to wait a little bit longer for that to happen. I’ve unfortunately suffered an injury, I’ve ruptured my Achilles.
“Yeah, this is one of those injuries…man, f-ck. This is just one of those things that happens. It’s a tough injury. It’s one that will require surgery, and it will require time and rehab and things for me to be out for a while.
“I was given an opportunity, I was given a blessing, and that came at the misfortune of someone else. Jiri Prochazka was the champion and he suffered an injury, as these things happen, and he gave up the belt to allow the division to keep moving forward. To keep it entertaining and to make sure that people had a champion. And I’ll do the same.
“Right now, the biggest thing is focusing on my recovery, focusing on getting back to 100%. I need to take some time to focus on my health and make sure that I’m 100% the fighter that I know am. Everybody knows who I am and that’s who I’ve been since I’ve stepped in this. In order to do that, I need to focus on healing and rehabbing.
“Sorry. This is not an easy video for me to make, you know? I like to be transparent, and I like to keep it real. If I had my choice, would I like to give up the belt? No, I wouldn’t. You’ve got to be consistent, and I understand the business so the show must go on. I’m not exempt from that. So, to everybody that supports me, you know I will do everything I can to be back in front of you 100% healthy, and as soon as possible…within reason.
“I want to say I appreciate the UFC. They’re taking care of me, they got my back fully 100% on this and are with me on my road back to recovery. I’ve been promised that I will fight for my title immediately, as soon as I’m able. And as well as the other things that come with that.
“Yeah, man, it’s just part of the story. No matter what, history is going to be written. I’m being tested and I will stand up to the challenge as a man and as a champion. I’ve got the support of my team and the people that are with me. That’s what I need. I’m taking on the challenge, doing what I can do to come back. I already know I’m the real champion. I’m the true champion. And I can’t wait to prove it. I can’t wait to be back putting on a show for all of you.
“I will keep you all up to date with my recovery and how things go and things of that nature. As of right now, I’ve just still got some things to process and things like that, but I just wanted y’all hear from me first. It’s always love and I can’t wait to be back in front of y’all again. Oss.”
Two UFC divisions in flux
According to MMA Fighting, anonymous sources revealed that Hill’s injury occurred “during a basketball game between several fighters that took place ahead of UFC 290 in Las Vegas.”
At the time of this post, the UFC hasn’t made an official statement of what will happen with the title. Once again, we have a vacant belt that is up for grabs. Between light heavyweight and women’s bantamweight, there are a lot of opportunities for the top 5-7 in those divisions. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.
According to MMA Fighting, Hill’s injury was suffered during the UFC’s International Fight week, during a pickup basketball game featuring several UFC talents. Per Fighting’s report, Hill is set to undergo surgery on his ruptured Achilles tendon on Monday. No timetable for his recovery has been announced.
Footage has since been circulating of an event, apparently organized by the UFC, featuring Daniel Cormier, Kevin Holland, Jamahal Hill, Belal Muhammad, and several other fighters.
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