Tom Lawlor pulls himself off UFC Fight Night 77 card in Sao Paulo due to concussion symptoms

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

There’s been a change to next month’s UFC Fight Night 77 event from Sao Paulo, Brazil, as concussion symptoms have caused “Filthy” Tom Lawlor to pull himself from a fight with Fabio Maldonado.

Lawlor penned a post for to explain why he dropped out of the event, describing the issues which are making him take a step back until they’ve cleared up.

“Due to unfortunate circumstances I have decided not to fight on November 7 against Fabio Maldonado in Sao Paulo, Brasil,” Lawlor wrote. “On Saturday during a training session I suffered a small cut over my left eye due to a head-to-head clash after a takedown. The cut suffered was deep, though not deep enough to jeopardize my ability to fight on November 7. I returned home to spend time with my newborn son and watch some of my teammates compete in a World Series of Fighting event later that night.

“While watching the fights and a Boston College football game it became increasingly harder to focus on what was in front of me. I have very good eyesight when tested; however it was taking longer for the blurs and lights to go away as I watched the two contests,” he continued. “As time passed I became more mindful of the vision problems I was experiencing and I began to think about the fortunes of a fighter I share the same initials with (Thomas Joseph): T.J. Grant. Former #1 UFC Lightweight contender T.J. Grant now works in potash mines in Saskatchewan, Canada. While working a “real” job is a fine way to make a living, I long ago decided that I have no desire to go back to that world.”

“…Fortunately, and I truly do thank them for this, the UFC has been generous to me with performance bonus money which has allowed me to continue living this dream for the past seven years. Much like most dream sequences that seem too good to be true, now is not the time that I want to wake up and live in the ‘real’ world. Unfortunately for now, there is a constant headache that has woken me up long enough to be advised not to compete due to a concussion suffered from the previously-mentioned head crash.”

Lawlor, who returned from a lengthy layoff in July to score a victory over Gian Villante, with a post-fight bonus to go along with it, vows to return in 2016, and believes he’s still got a long career ahead of him.

“Next year will mark another return for me on the way to a longer and more productive career because of this decision,” he said. “My motivation for fighting will continue to grow as will my skill-set and understanding of life. It has to. I’d hate for my son to grow up and dare to live a dream because I set an example that resulted in having to stop living mine. So in 2016, look for me to be back in the Top 15, beating Top 10 opponents, and proving to every young boy who has to watch the UFC behind his parent’s back and every adult that worries about their family that dreams can and do come true.”

Maldonado will remain on the Nov. 7 card, which airs live on Fox Sports 1 with a headlining bout between Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort, as the UFC announced that TUF winner Corey Anderson will step in for the fight.

Penick’s Analysis: Lawlor’s full piece is worth reading, so I encourage all to check out the link for his full column. He’s being smart and cautious about the symptoms that were caused by that head clash, and taking the time to (hopefully) see them clear up. Of course, as we’ve seen with concussions in the past, it’s hard to know how long it will take for things to clear up, if they do at all. T.J. Grant hasn’t fought in two and a half years because of concussion symptoms, and this is a sport in which further concussive damage could lead to serious health issues in the future. Hopefully we can see Lawlor get back healthy, as he’s been one of the more personable and entertaining guys in the sport throughout his run.

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