With Halloween right around the corner, the tricks, tales, ghosts, and ghouls are much less concerning to the landscape of MMA than the thought of fighters disappearing into thin air due to injury. A little spooky when your mind mulls over the topic, but it seems that the injury bug has infected the itch that fighters seek to scratch in professional prizefighting; therefore, they prescribe themselves an antibiotic of retirement. On episode 77 of Jon and Mike’s MMA Corner, Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall (13-5-1) transparently chatted about the stockpile of injuries he’s accumulated, and if he tallies one more, they will overwhelm his inventory of desires to return to the body’s most physically demanding sport. McCall’s interview raised eyebrows and startled curly, handlebar mustaches into spikes, punctuating the discussion by wondering: How many competitors in MMA stand inches away from the line that separates competition and retirement?
Anytime a media outlet lets McCall loose on the airwaves, listeners brace for information that will likely scare their perspective on the sport straight. In his recent visit with Jon and Mike, “Uncle Creepy” disturbed fans by mentioning his nagging injuries may force him to step away from the sport,
“Honestly, this is the first time I’ve said this: If I get another big injury, I’ll probably retire.”
Sound bite after sound bite, fighters repeat a universal truth when answering the call of the bell: Nobody ever fights at one hundred percent. Dealing with bumps, bruises, dislocations, or any other war wound is all a part of the game, but some, in MMA’s recent history, decided the tax on their bodies wasn’t worth its weight in championship gold. Several fighters of late include: Frankie Perez, a twenty-six year old who called it quits after his first fight-a victory-in the UFC; Rick Hawn, a veteran who collected Titan Fighting Championships’ lightweight title at Titan FC 35, though he already reconciled with his competitive edge that enough was enough; Nick Newell, an inspiration with each performance inside the cage, spent more of his recent training camps rehabilitating than actually preparing, bidding ado after his last win at World Series of Fighting 24.
The list of injuries rattled off by McCall sounded like one of David Letterman’s top-ten lists: Things undesirable to anyone right in the mind, leaving the audience to wonder how much McCall has left,
“I’m fucked; my whole right side. I was thinking about this as well: I popped my [right] knee in college, and I had to take the season off; I tore my right hip and groin; my right hand, as you know, is a fucking mess; I fractured, as a kid, my right elbow; Now, I’ve had full surgery, from rotator cuff to labrum and bicep tendon and bicep muscle, all at once.”
Reviewing McCall’s medical records with him, your skin begins to crawl at the possibility of how many fighters are threatened by menacing ailments. Fighters like McCall sign on the dotted line because of innate demands to test their will, and the inflection in McCall’s voice pronounced the difficulty in deciding to walk away,
“If I have one more big injury, I’ll just call it quits. Fuck man…It sucks.”
Win or lose, any post-fight discussion becomes a hair-raising situation of uncertainty because we never know when a fighter’s suffering has reached their limit. As McCall continues to heal up and mend his weathered frame, the MMA community perch eerily in front of their computers for any further reports of damage finalizing the career of the UFC flyweight.
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