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The recently defeated Ultimate Fighting Championship star Conor McGregor has made some claims about a possible preexisting injury that may merit some additional questioning.
On Thursday, McGregor posted a video on his Instagram while riding a motorized scooter as an update to his fans about his condition and recovery. In this video, the Irishman explained that he may have come into UFC 264, and his rubber match against Dustin Poirier, with injuries to his leg. In that third bout with Poirier, McGregor’s tibia snapped towards the end of the first round, with many speculating it could have broken on a checked leg kick, an elbow block from Poirier or simply from throwing it so hard. Even though it did not go his way, McGregor appeared upbeat about the situation, getting out of surgery on his birthday on Wednesday.
“Keep a positive mindset, you know we’ve got this,” McGregor said with a grin. “Had a couple of ups and downs the last couple days, had a great birthday yesterday. I appreciate all the birthday messages all you guys sent me, thanks so much for that. I came out of surgery, I was feeling very euphoric, the job was done. It was a great job that was done, and I was like, ‘yes, I’ve got this, and it’s going to be easy and I’m gonna do this, no problem,’ and then I hit a wall and then I was like…I’m in a lot of pain, my mobility is…I’m gonna be like this for a while. It’s not gonna be a few days, or even a few weeks, it’s gonna be a bit of time.”
Suffering back-to-back losses for the first time in his career, both by knockout and this most recent one a debilitating injury that will keep him out of action for a while, McGregor was understandably going through a lot at the time.
“So I kind of went into a rut after that, but I know there’s gonna be ups and downs on this journey that I’m gonna be on. And I’m aware of them now, and just a bit more happy and a bit more accepting of it and motivated to keep going. Like I said, we got out of the hospital on my birthday, got some fresh air – this is actually the first bit of fresh air I’ve got since I went into the surgery room.”
While driving his scooter down a California street, McGregor revealed some troubling details about a potential injury he brought into this fight with Poirier. He claimed that the UFC team had active knowledge of this injury, which must be disclosed to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. A few questions on the NSAC licensing forms include, “Have you had any broken bones in the last 6 months,” as well as, “Have you had any injury to your knees, ankles, or feet that needed evaluation or examination?” It is unclear if the commission knew of this possible injury at this time, but the UFC knew well enough to consider postponing the fight.
“I’m just extremely grateful for every single one of you, and I’m motivated I’m gonna do this, and I’m gonna come back. The leg is better than ever, I was injured going into the fight. People are asking me ‘when was the leg broke? At what point did the leg break?’ Ask [UFC President] Dana White, ask the UFC, ask Dr. Davidson, the head doctor of the UFC, they knew…I had stress fractures in my leg going into that cage,” McGregor admitted. “It was debated about pulling the thing out because I was sparring with no shin pads and was kicked a knee a few times.”
“Notorious” continued, “So I had multiple stress fractures in the shin bone above the ankle, and then I have trouble with the ankle anyway throughout the years of f---ing fighting all the time. And I also was wrapping my ankle every training session, I even [did] a lot of training sessions where when the ankle was sore, I still wouldn’t stop training, I used to just train on my back.”
The injury, according to the former two-division UFC champ, is what allowed him to learn effective strikes from his back, including elbows and upkicks that he landed on Poirier while Poirier was in top position.
“And that’s how I developed those ground-and-pound shots from the back,” McGregor stated. “That’s why Dustin backed away. When he was on top of me, and I was landing the upkicks and the elbows, it’s a horrible place to be in when you’re against someone like me. It takes so much effort to try and land shots from your top position, and while you’re trying to do that, you’re losing your energy [and] you’re getting lumped up by downward elbows and vicious upkicks. It was a skill I developed because I had the damaged leg, and I had to adjust my training.”
This injury may have been a blessing in disguise for McGregor, who mentioned lingering issues to his leg throughout his career that needed attention. Now that he is surgically repaired, those problems may be resolved going forward.
“I needed to get treatment on my leg,” McGregor explained. “I needed to get treatment on the ankle, and I needed to get treatment on the shinbone. And I would have never committed to going under the knife unless something like this has happened. So, something like this has happened, and after going in and after getting exactly what I needed, and what I needed was a titanium shinbone. So now I’ve got a titanium rod going down the knee, from the knee to my ankle, and the doctor says it’s unbreakable.”
McGregor’s recovery process will be a lengthy one, as White expects that the Irishman “will be back in a year.” Despite the upcoming physical therapy and struggles that await him to return to fighting shape, McGregor is not discouraged.
“First of all, [I have to] manage the incision, the cut, make sure it doesn’t get infected, keep the health on it, keep building back that way,” McGregor noted. “Then I’ll start playing with the balance, learning how to stand on it again…learning how to balance on a single leg again, then I’ll build the strength, and then I’ve got an unbreakable titanium leg.”
McGregor’s spirits were high, and he said with a laugh, “I was talking to my physical therapist, Heather, who was with Arnold Schwarzenegger…and I was saying ‘I’m like Arnie in “Terminator 2.”’”