UFCThe Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is a U.S.-based mixed martial arts organization, recognized as the largest MMA promotion in the world. The UFC is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada and is owned and operated by Zuffa, LLC. This promotion is responsible for solidifying the sport's postion in the history-books.
UFC is currently undergoing a remarkable surge in popularity, along with greater mainstream media coverage. UFC programming can now be seen on FOX, FX, and FUEL TV in the United States, as well as in 35 other countries worldwide.
They've sweat and bled together for years, and American Kickboxing Academy teammates Jon Fitch and Cain Velasquez now have another reason to commiserate.
Fitch learned Tuesday that a shoulder injury he sustained in a fight with B.J. Penn requires surgery and is likely to keep him out of action for up to six months.
Like Velasquez, who suffered a bad shoulder injury in his most recent outing, Fitch told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he hoped that physical therapy could get him through the problem before receiving word on Tuesday that he needs to go under the knife.
"I'm going to have to get the labrum worked on, and I also have a tear of one of the rotator cuff muscles that's going to need to be repaired, too," Fitch told MMAjunkie.com.
Fitch (23-3-1 MMA, 13-1-1 UFC) and Penn (16-7-2 MMA, 12-6-2 UFC) fought to a majority draw this past February at UFC 127 in a fight that was supposed to crown the next title challenger at 170 pounds. Although Fitch dominated the third and final round of the fight, two of three judges felt he hadn't done enough to erase a lead earned by Penn in the first frame.
Fitch's healing process is expected to take three months. In the meantime, he said he plans to hang around the gym and attempt to be a "one-armed handyman" in the house he recently purchased. Fighting, though, is off the table for most of the year.
"It's functional," Fitch said. "I can move around and do stuff with it. I could probably even fight with it. But going through a camp and going through six-hour days of workouts, eventually it's going to break down.
"I don't think I would get through a full fight camp without it breaking down completely."
Fitch and Penn were slated to fight again at UFC 132 in July before Fitch withdrew from the fight in late March. Penn elected to reschedule his next contest and released a video that said a shoulder injury of his own caused him to bow out of the summer event.
When Fitch does return, he hopes to pick up where he left off with the rematch.
"It's the best fight for each of us," Fitch said. "I think it would be dumb for either of us to take a fight with anybody else but each other before we settle it. Either me or B.J. would love to just fight the winner of Jake (Shields) and [Georges St-Pierre]. But I think it's realistic that if Jake wins that fight, that there will be a rematch. And if GSP wins that fight, he only fights a couple times a year. So he'll probably take a break, and there will be time for [Penn and me] to fight. If GSP moves up to fight Anderson (Silva), there's still time for him to do that and me and B.J. to fight.
"There's a lot of options. I hope it works out favorably for me. But I can't ask the world to stop turning just because I have an injury."
Like Velasquez, who injured his shoulder in a heavyweight title-winning performance against Brock Lesnar at UFC 121, Fitch is a gym rat. His biggest challenge will be to stay away from the rigors of regular training.
"It's really depressing," he said. "My most favorite thing in the world to do every day with my life, I don't get to do now for a few months."
Velasquez, meanwhile, is loosely scheduled to return at the end of the summer but could be out until the end of the year.
Oh no, what will the world do without him? I'm kidding of course 'cause I think he's boring! I do hope he gets better though. For all my nagging him the guy is a consistent fighter and you gotta respect that.
It's the time off, it's gonna kill him. It's going to put him way behind, his fitness level is going to go to shit. When he does come back it's going to take him a year to get back where he was. This matched with improving competition, him staying the same (at best) and him aging. He may come back and win a couple til he's matched with an up and coming wrestler with better striking and loses, but being a top 3/5 are done. It's going to be the fading point of his career. But the guy is good and had a good run, if gsp's dad had rolled over and sprayed him on the wall, fitch would have been where he's at.
If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so. ~ Thomas Jefferson