MMA ODDS AND ENDS FOR THURSDAY: JULIANNA PENA OUT FOR TWO YEARS FOLLOWING CATASTROPHIC KNEE INJURY

One of the UFC’s brightest young stars is injured, and as stated by the company president she’s going to be out of commission for a couple of years. It was revealed by UFC Tonight that TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena suffered a devastating injury to her right knee during training that resulted in tears for her ACL, MCL, LCL, meniscus, and hamstring. MMAFighting.com reported the injury occurred during a grappling session Monday in Sikjitsu gym in Spokane, Washington. In accordance with UFC president Dana White, the injury is so severe that the 24-year-old Pena is expected to miss a couple of decades of action. She’s set to have surgery on the knee following week when the swelling goes down. This is quite sad news and everyone in the MMA world ought to want Pena a quick recovery because she embarks on what will be a dark period in her life as she will not be able to compete at the game she loves just at the time she was beginning to get really good at it. According to her official biography on UFC.com, Pena said,”When I discovered MMA I realized it was the socket I needed and was looking for.” About battling in the Octagon,” Pena said:”It means the world to me to be fighting in the UFC. This is as large as it’s, it will not get any higher, and I have made it. It’s a fantastic achievement for myself.” However, for the next time, she will not have MMA in her entire life. Nicknamed”The Venezuelan Vixen,” Pena entered TUF 18 with a 4-2 record and was paired up against veteran Shayna Baszler in the preliminary round after defeating Gina Mazany to enter the home. Despite being a large underdog into Baszler, Pena was able to rally after being down early to defeat Baszer via second-round entry. She then submitted Sara Moras from the semifinals to earn a birth in the finale, and she won the series last November with a dominating first-round TKO win over Jessica Rakoczy. Currently ranked in the top 10 of the women’s bantamweight division, Pena was set to face Jessica Andrade at UFC 171 that March prior to being forced to pull out with this knee injury. Andrade will face Raquel Pennington. UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani was able to speak to Pena’s coach at Sikjitsu, Rick Little, who said the injury Pena suffered was the”most grisly” he’d ever seen in sports. According to Little, Pena’s harm was the consequence of an over-aggressive training session, which seems strange given the seriousness of the accident. Based on White’s tweet that”what happened at her gym is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever noticed,” there is obviously much more to the narrative. There’s already speculation that this was not only an accident, but that someone in Pena’s camp held on to a entry too long, possibly a heel hook that’s highly frowned upon to do while training with teammates. That is only speculation for now, however, although I don’t by for a minute that this injury was only an accident based on which White’s tweet. It was much more inclined carelessness was the cause. This is very disappointing news as I believe Pena was a upcoming title contender in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Pena’s wrestling is excellent and she’s improving her entire game so quickly that she’d be a serious contender for the UFC bantamweight name within the next couple of decades. Remember her beef with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey in the show meant she’d have been pushed up the ladder faster than many others. But this injury will obviously delay that opportunity to fight for the belt, and it’s possible the injury renders that fantasy impossible. For someone who is only 24, it’s not reasonable that Pena has needed to cope with so many injuries and bad luck as such a young age. Before TUF 18 was first filmed, Pena was involved in a horrible car accident that left her with a broken nose. She had suffered a broken arm one of her struggles, in addition to the previous two ACL tears earlier in her career. But that’s life, and life is not fair. Pena was working as a waitress before TUF and also living in the home with her family. With her career just about to remove, Pena had been looking forward to moving out and embarking on a promising career in the game. Now, she will be outside sitting on the sidelines for around another 24 month after suffering one of the worst knee injuries ever to a UFC fighter, and she’ll have trouble making a living while doing so. I am hoping that the UFC helps out Pena financially during her off time since, after all, she is an investment for the corporation. The UFC does have an insurance plan which should cover a portion of Pena’s operation, but it’s capped at $50,000 annually and might not cover most Pena’s medical-related expenses. So the UFC can do the perfect thing and help her out in her time of need. We get the complete story about what happened to Pena shortly, but for now let us all wish Pena great luck on her surgery next week and let’s hope she can beat the projected two year layoff and get back into the crate sooner than later because she’s a huge fighter and has a bright future in the sport.

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