“This is the first time I’ve ever actually had to like, tell ’em, you know what I mean? This is one of those things where you call them and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a ruptured disc,’ and you know you’re not going to be fighting. There’s no question about it. Obviously, I’m gutted. I’ve always prided myself on being very durable, both spiritually and physically. Everyone has seen the things I went through on The Ultimate Fighter -the stuff with my dad. When I fought on the UFC 157 card, I had knee surgery five weeks prior to that. Since I’ve been in the UFC, I’ve fought with hand fractures, I’ve fought right after a surgery and I’ve fought recovering from infections. I can’t believe that my body finally sustained something that I can’t actually battle through, and of course it would have to be for this fight. This fight has champion implications and it has very personal value to me with it being my first main event, and just being against a world class guy like Tony Ferguson, whom I have a lot of respect for. I was really looking forward to testing myself against him, to see what I’m really made of. It’s tough to find any upside or positive aspect here, and I’ve been looking pretty hard for one. Where is the light in the tunnel? I’m certainly not seeing it right now… It’s just so tough to face that reality. When I go through a training camp, I get to a point where I feel bulletproof. I’m in shape, my weight is good and I’m burning through my workouts like they’re nothing. I feel like nothing can stop me, like I can blow a hole through this f***ing guy. This is gonna be easy money. I’m not saying Tony was going to be easy, I’m just saying that you get to a point where you feel invincible against the world. Then it all fell apart. Gutted.”
-A dejected Michael Chiesa talks to Stephie Haynes at BloodyElbow.com about pulling out of his UFC Fight Night 91 main event with Tony Ferguson due to a ruptured disc in his back.
Penick’s Analysis: Chiesa goes further into the injury itself and his expected recovery time in the full interview, so hit the link to check out more from the very candid and upset lightweight. It’s a really unfortunate situation, and you hate to see it happen to any fighter, let alone someone with an opportunity like this that doesn’t come along often. He’d been on a very good run, and he continues to impress and surprise people in the cage. A win over Tony Ferguson would have absolutely catapulted him up the ranks, so having the fight taken from him because of an injury – and having this be the first time he’s ever pulled out because of an injury like that – hurts even worse than had it been for a different level of fight and opponent. We wish him a speedy recovery, and hope he’s able to come back strong down the line, but for now he’s understandably in a rough spot emotionally because of this situation.
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