Aljamain Sterling says he underwent surgery to repair torn bicep, hopes to return by UFC 205 in New York

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Aljamain Sterling’s been relatively off the grid since his loss to Bryan Caraway at UFC Fight Night 88 in May, and on Tuesday he revealed why.

In an article penned for, Sterling revealed that he suffered a torn bicep during a training session in June, and underwent surgery just last week to get it fixed.

“I was sparring with one of my teammates, James Jenkins. We were in a clinch position, and somehow, I threw an overhand right as soon as we broke out of the Thai … I land the overhand right, and it was sort of flush, but it landed in such a way that it hyperextended my elbow,” Sterling explained. “I heard this pop, and I stopped to look down at my arm and immediately took a knee. I just felt this instant pain radiating through my arm. I knew right then something was wrong. Really wrong. I thought to myself, ‘What the hell was that?’

“I hoped that I’d just pulled something. I iced it immediately and took a bunch of Advil to reduce the swelling. I did everything I possibly could, thinking that maybe it wasn’t that bad. The next few days told a different tale, though. I could barely use it. I had hoped it was just a partial tear, that I could just rest it up and do some rehab and have it be good as new in four to six weeks, but after a visit to the doctor and an MRI (with two doctors confirming the results), it was revealed that I did have a complete tear in my bicep. That damned MRI, like some evil fortune-teller, said surgery was in my immediate future.”

Sterling got the procedure done in Las Vegas, getting a screw embedded to reconnect his torn bicep to his shoulder. As Sterling recounted, “He explained to me that he drilled two holes in my radius so that he could insert the tendon back in with a plastic screw so that he could screw it into the bone. He drilled a big hole that he passed the tendon through, and there was a smaller hole underneath to ensure that the screw stayed put. It also allows a bit of space for new bone mass to form and grow over that bicep tendon. That screw is now a lifelong part of me. I sort of feel like I’m on my way to being bionic. When you combine it with my futuristic brace, I’m just a few steps away from being a cyborg.”

Sterling is cautiously optimistic about being able to compete on the UFC 205 card in New York, an important event for the Serra-Longo team in the state. However, it’s not a given he’ll recover in time.

“For me, four to six weeks is an ideal camp, because I never get out of shape between camps. My only concern with this is whether I’ll be able to get the right sparring in before I just hop into a fight,” he wrote. “I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing by myself, so I have to make this decision with my team. We have to make sure we’re taking the correct precautions so we don’t end up with back-to-back losses. I never plan on losing, but we all know in MMA some crazy ish happens to remind us we are all mortal.

“There is a chance for UFC New York, it’s just not a decision we’ve made at this point. Right now, the best news I can give is that the future is not yet determined. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Penick’s Analysis: Here’s to a speedy recovery for “The Funk Master,” who would be a very good addition to the UFC 205 card in his home state. The loss to Caraway was a setback, but he’s still an extremely talented prospect who could be right back in the title picture with a couple wins. If he’s able to recover quickly enough to fight on that card, he’ll absolutely be booked there, but he’s wise to be cautious, because trying to come back too quickly could be detrimental too his future.

[Photo (c) Joshua Dahl via USA Today Sports]

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