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

Among the UFC’s brightest young stars is injured, and according to the company president she is likely to be out of commission for two years. It was revealed by UFC Tonight which TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena endured a catastrophic injury to her right knee during training that led to tears to her ACL, MCL, LCL, meniscus, and hamstring. MMAFighting.com reported the injury happened during a grappling session Monday in Sikjitsu fitness center 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 years of action. She is set to have surgery on the knee following week when the swelling goes down. This is very sad news and everybody in the MMA world ought to want Pena a quick recovery as she embarks on what is going to be a dark time in her life as she won’t be able to compete in the game she enjoys just at the time she was beginning to get great at it. According to her official biography on UFC.com,” Pena said,”After I discovered MMA I understood it was the socket I needed and was searching 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 gets, it will not get any higher, and I have made it. It is a fantastic achievement for myself.” However, for the upcoming time, she won’t have MMA in her entire life. Nicknamed”The Venezuelan Vixen,” Pena entered TUF 18 with a 4-2 record and has been matched up against veteran Shayna Baszler in the preliminary round after defeating Gina Mazany to enter the house. Despite being a large underdog into Baszler, Pena was able to rally after being early to defeat Baszer through second-round submission. 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 those women’s bantamweight division, Pena had been set to confront Jessica Andrade in UFC 171 this March before being forced to pull out with this knee injury. Andrade will face Raquel Pennington. UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani managed to talk to Pena’s trainer 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 result of an over-aggressive training session, which seems strange given the seriousness of the injury. Based on White’s tweet that”what occurred at her gym is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever noticed,” there’s obviously more to the narrative. There’s already speculation that this was not just an crash, but that somebody in Pena’s camp held on to some submission overly long, maybe a heel hook that’s highly frowned upon to perform while training with teammates. That is just speculation for the time being, however, although I don’t by for a minute that this injury was only an accident based on which White’s tweet. It was considerably more likely carelessness was the trigger. This is very disappointing news as I think Pena was a future title contender from the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Pena’s wrestling is excellent and she is improving her entire game so quickly that she would be a serious contender for the UFC bantamweight title within the next couple of years. Remember her beef with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey from the show supposed she would have been pushed up the ladder faster than many others. But this harm will clearly delay that opportunity to fight for the belt, and it is possible the injury renders that dream impossible. For somebody who’s just 24, it’s not reasonable that Pena has needed to deal with so many injuries and bad fortune as such a young age. Before TUF 18 was first filmed, Pena was involved in a nasty car accident that left her with a broken nose. She had also suffered a broken arm one of her struggles, as well as the preceding two ACL tears before in her career. But that’s life, and life isn’t fair. Pena was employed as a waitress before TUF and living at home with her loved ones. Together with her career just about to remove, Pena was looking forward to moving out and embarking on a promising career in the game. Now, she’ll be out sitting on the sidelines for up to the next 24 month after enduring among the worst knee injuries ever to a UFC fighter, and she’ll have difficulty making a living while doing so. I hope the UFC helps out Pena financially through her time off since, after all, she is an investment to the corporation. The UFC does have an insurance plan which should cover part of Pena’s operation, but it’s capped at $50,000 yearly and may not cover all of Pena’s medical-related costs. So hopefully the UFC can do the perfect thing and help her out in her time of need. Hopefully we get the full story about what happened to Pena shortly, but for now let’s all wish Pena good luck on her operation next week and let us hope she is able to beat the estimated two year layoff and get back into the cage sooner than later because she is a huge fighter and has a bright future in the sport.

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