One of the UFC’s brightest young stars is injured, and according to the company president she is going to be out of commission for a couple of years. It was yesterday revealed by UFC Tonight which TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena endured a catastrophic injury to her right knee during training that led to tears for her ACL, MCL, LCL, meniscus, and hamstring. MMAFighting.com reported that the injury occurred during a grappling session on Monday in 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 two years of action. She’s set to get surgery on the knee following week once the swelling goes down. This is quite sad news and everyone in the MMA world should wish Pena a quick recovery because she embarks on what will be a dark period in her life as she will not have the ability to compete at the game she loves just at the time she was beginning to get great 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 fighting 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’ve made it. It is a great accomplishment for myself.” But for the upcoming little while, she will not have MMA in her life. Nicknamed”The Venezuelan Vixen,” Pena entered TUF 18 with a 4-2 record and was matched up against veteran Shayna Baszler from the preliminary round after beating Gina Mazany to go into the home. Despite being a massive underdog into Baszler, Pena was able to rally after being down early to conquer Baszer via second-round submission. She subsequently 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 the women’s bantamweight division, Pena was set to face Jessica Andrade at UFC 171 this March before being forced to pull out this knee injury. Andrade will face Raquel Pennington. UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani managed to talk to Pena’s coach at Sikjitsu, Rick Little, who said the injury Pena endured was the”most gruesome” he had ever seen in sports. According to Little, Pena’s injury was the result of an over-aggressive training session, which seems strange given the seriousness of the accident. According to White’s tweet which”what occurred at her gym is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard,” there’s obviously more to the narrative. There’s already speculation that this was not just an crash, but that someone at Pena’s camp held on to some submission overly long, possibly a heel hook that’s highly frowned upon to perform while training with teammates. That is only speculation for now, though, though I really don’t by for a moment that this harm 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 think Pena was a upcoming title contender from the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Pena’s wrestling is excellent and she is improving her overall game so rapidly that she’d be a serious contender for the UFC bantamweight title within the next couple of decades. Keep in mind her beef with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey in the series meant she’d have been pushed up the ladder faster than others. However, this harm will clearly delay that opportunity to fight for the belt, and it’s possible that the injury renders that dream impossible. For somebody who’s just 24, it’s not reasonable that Pena has needed to cope with all these injuries and bad luck as such a young age. Before TUF 18 was filmed, Pena had been involved in a horrible car accident that left her with a broken nose. She had suffered a broken arm in one of her struggles, as well as the previous two ACL tears before in her career. But that’s life, and life is not fair. Pena was working as a waitress before TUF and living in the home with her loved ones. Together with her career just going to take off, Pena had been 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 this. I hope the UFC helps out Pena financially during her time off because, after all, she’s an investment for the company. The UFC does have an insurance plan that should pay a portion of Pena’s surgery, but it is capped at $50,000 yearly and might not cover all of Pena’s medical-related expenses. So 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 soon, but for now let’s all desire Pena great luck on her surgery next week and let us hope she is able to conquer the projected two year layoff and return in the cage sooner than later because she’s a tremendous fighter and has a bright future in the sport.
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