One of the UFC’s brightest young stars is injured, and as stated by the company president she’s likely to be out of commission for a couple of decades. It was yesterday revealed by UFC Tonight that TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena suffered a devastating injury to her right knee during training that resulted in tears to her ACL, MCL, LCL, meniscus, and hamstring. MMAFighting.com reported that the injury happened during a grappling session Monday at Sikjitsu gym in Spokane, Washington. According to 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’s set to get surgery on the knee following week once the swelling goes down. This is very sad news and everybody in the MMA world ought to wish Pena a speedy recovery as she embarks on what is going to be a dark period in her life as she will not be able to compete at the game she enjoys just at the time she was beginning to get really good at it. According to her official biography on UFC.com, Pena said,»After I found MMA I realized it was the outlet I needed and was looking for.» About fighting in the Octagon,» Pena stated:»It means the world to me to be more fighting in the UFC. This is as large as it gets, it will not get any higher, and I have made it. It’s a fantastic achievement for myself.» But for the upcoming time, she will not have MMA in her life. Nicknamed»The Venezuelan Vixen,» Pena entered TUF 18 with a 4-2 record and has been paired up against veteran Shayna Baszler in the preliminary round after beating Gina Mazany to go into the home. Despite being a massive underdog into Baszler, Pena managed to rally after being down 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 this past November with a dominating first-round TKO win over Jessica Rakoczy. Currently ranked in the top 10 of those women’s bantamweight division, Pena was set to confront Jessica Andrade in 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 managed to talk to Pena’s trainer at Sikjitsu, Rick Little, who said the harm Pena suffered was the»most grisly» he had ever seen in sports. According to Little, Pena’s injury was the result of an over-aggressive training session, which seems odd given the seriousness of this injury. Based on White’s tweet that»what occurred at her gym is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever noticed,» there is obviously much more to the story. There’s already speculation that this wasn’t only an crash, but that somebody at Pena’s camp held on to a entry overly long, maybe a heel hook that’s highly frowned upon to do while training with teammates. That is only speculation for now, though, though I really don’t by for a minute that this harm was just an accident based on what White’s tweet. It was much more inclined carelessness was the trigger. 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 exceptional and she’s improving her entire game so quickly that she would be a serious competitor for the UFC bantamweight name within the next two 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 others. But this harm will obviously delay that opportunity to fight for the belt, and it’s possible that the injury renders that dream hopeless. For somebody who’s only 24, it is not fair that Pena has needed to cope with all these injuries and bad luck as such a young age. Before TUF 18 was first filmed, Pena was involved in a horrible car accident which left her with a busted nose. She had also suffered a broken arm one of her struggles, in addition to the previous two ACL tears before in her career. But that is life, and life isn’t fair. Pena was employed as a waitress before TUF and also living at home with her family. Together with her career just going to remove, Pena had been anticipating moving out and embarking on a promising career in the sport. Now, she’ll be outside sitting on the sidelines for up to the next 24 month after enduring among the worst knee injuries ever into a UFC fighter, and she’ll have trouble making a living while doing so. I am hoping that the UFC helps out Pena financially through her off time because, after all, she’s an investment to the company. The UFC does have an insurance plan which should pay a portion of Pena’s surgery, but it is capped at $50,000 annually and may not cover all of Pena’s medical-related costs. So hopefully the UFC can do exactly the right thing and help her out in her time of need. Hopefully we get the complete story about what happened to Pena shortly, but for today let’s all desire Pena great luck on her operation next week and let us hope she is able to conquer the projected two year layoff and get back into the cage sooner than later because she’s a huge fighter and has a bright future in the sport.
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