Max Holloway’s health scare underlines MMA’s inherent risks

first_imgMOST READ FILE – In this Thursday, April 5, 2018, file photo, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway gestures while responding to reporters’ questions during Media Day for UFC 223 at the Barclays Center in New York, ahead of his lightweight title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)LAS VEGAS — Max Griffin isn’t proud of his reaction after he heard UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway dropped out of his fight against Brian Ortega with apparent symptoms of a concussion.“To me, we’re fighters,” said Griffin, a UFC welterweight. “We always have a concussion, you know?”ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Perry — who has his nickname, “Platinum,” tattooed above his right eye in a cursive green script — is a wild man even by MMA’s heightened standards, and he shares Griffin’s raised-eyebrow curiousness about the seriousness of Holloway’s injury. Perry also reaped a benefit from Holloway’s absence in this merciless sport: His bout against Paul Felder was elevated to the pay-per-view portion of the UFC 226 card.Yet Perry expressed support for Holloway’s decision, and he fully realizes he’ll eventually pay for his own reckless mentality in the cage.“I’m waiting to see what happens to me, because I get hit, but I kind of like it,” Perry said. “I can take a shot. I’ve got that platinum cranium.”Perry epitomized many MMA brawlers’ mindset when he acknowledged that he sometimes “got bored” in training camp before he moved to a new gym this year.“So I started getting punched in the face, because it made me feel like I was having more fun or something,” Perry said with a grin. “It made me feel alive.”As with many brain injuries in the cloistered world of combat sports training camps, it’s unclear when Holloway’s symptoms began or what caused them. UFC President Dana White said Holloway is still being examined to determine the root of his problem.“Some people think it’s concussion-related, and some people think it’s weight cut-related,” White said. “According to him, he feels fine. But he doesn’t feel fine. There’s no way he’s going to fight anytime soon.”Ortega won’t fight a replacement opponent at UFC 226, his manager confirmed Thursday. The UFC attempted to book several replacement bouts, possibly for an interim title, but Ortega elected to preserve his health and his title shot.Many fighters also wondered aloud whether Holloway’s problems were related to his weight cut — the torturous process of dropping pounds in the last few days before a bout. Holloway attempted a severe cut in March to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title on six days’ notice, but was pulled out by his doctors when his health declined.Holloway’s representatives said he hadn’t even started the serious deprivation necessary for the final cut, but veteran fighters still know all about the disruption caused by each step in the process, which has led to deaths in MMA and boxing. “If I’ve got a fight, I’m fighting,” said Griffin (14-4), who takes on Curtis Millender at UFC 226 on Saturday. “If you’re going to wheel me out there, put me in a wheelchair and drop me in there, I’m going to fight, dude.”The fighters on the UFC 226 undercard reacted to Holloway’s absence Thursday with a mix of concern, disappointment and calculated obliviousness. He made two trips to the emergency room this week after his coaches and management noticed he was acting unusually, speaking strangely and struggling to awake from a nap.“It’s extremely scary,” said Anthony Pettis, the former UFC champion who lost a title fight to Holloway in December 2016. “That’s life-changing. I love fighting, but I love my life more. You get concussion syndrome, and you literally can’t look at your phone or drive at night. I want to do be a fighter, but that changes your life forever.”Indeed, developing the mindset of a successful MMA fighter is literally about believing you can avoid getting hurt, since that would mean your opponent is succeeding.“Yes, I am a risk-taker,” welterweight Mike Perry said. “I believe there’s a lot of money in risk. Risk equals reward. Let’s go get paid.”ADVERTISEMENT Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs Critical stretch Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water recedingcenter_img Weight cut dangers are an urgent topic throughout combat sports, and the UFC has tried safety measures, including early weigh-ins. Nothing has stopped fighters from stretching their bodies to the limit, preferring to take another risk in a profession that demands the acceptance of daunting odds.“It’s only a matter of time until something really bad happens in the UFC to one of us,” lightweight Michael Chiesa said. “(Holloway) is a guy like myself that has to put himself through the wringer to make weight. I just can’t imagine what would have happened if he had thrown himself in a hot bath and really depleted himself.“I’m sure he didn’t willingly take himself out of the fight. I’m sure they had to make the decision for him.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments Putin’s, Xi’s ruler-for-life moves pose challenges to West LATEST STORIES Trump assembles a made-for-TV impeachment defense team Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Report: Disney dropping the ‘Fox’ from movie studio names In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Griffin knows his instinctive skepticism about Holloway’s injury isn’t healthy. He also isn’t afraid to acknowledge the fundamental illogic behind all mixed martial arts fighters’ decision to pursue a career in a sport that is designed to hurt them.“We always have concussion-like symptoms, (but) I’ve been in fights where I couldn’t see, and I didn’t say, ‘I can’t see,’” Griffin said Thursday. “We have concussions all the time. Like all the time. We have mild ones from getting hit, even not getting hit. You’ll be just kind of woozy today, or whatever. You just fight.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’Griffin knows people who have suffered or died from brain injuries, and he missed a fight last year after a training drill against a heavyweight led to a broken rib that nearly punctured his lung. He also quit his steady corporate job at Blue Shield of California in January to pursue MMA as a full-time occupation.For any pro fighter, the financial and competitive rewards are simply stronger than the risks.last_img read more

Fighting cancer, boy, 9, treats life as a miracle

first_imgSAN FERNANDO – Watching 9-year-old Manny Fernandez bubble over with excitement, it’s easy to forget the tough battle being fought by the fourth-grader. Three years after being diagnosed with a rare brain tumor, Manny has difficulty hearing, walking and speaking. But all his pain seemed to wash away Tuesday as he jumped into a city of San Fernando police car and, with the siren wailing, took off on the ride of his life. “It was fun,” he said, smiling. “They showed me everything in the cops’ place.” A tour of the police station and ride through the city’s main drag in the patrol car gave the wide-eyed boy a short reprieve from medulloblastoma – a sometimes terminal condition that disrupts the equilibrium and muscle coordination. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita On his best days, Manny has trouble hearing and must sit out for most of recess at San Fernando Elementary School because the stress is too much on his frail body. On his worst days, he has seizures and sleeps for hours on end. “There are times we didn’t think he was going to make it,” said his mother, Elizabeth Fernandez, who snapped photos of Manny as he looked into the jail, talked with the police captain and peered out of the patrol car. “This is a joy for us. These are the moments we can remember.” Though his future is uncertain, there is hope. About 80 percent of children diagnosed with the brain cancer survive, though treatment can be grueling. Manny has already gone through radiation, chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant. About three of every 100,000 children are diagnosed with the cancer, according to a 1994 study by the National Cancer Institute. Those numbers have been steadily increasing since the 1970s, when the odds were one in 100,000. Some children become wheelchair users, others develop learning disabilities but many return to normal lives, said Dr. Rima Jubran, Manny’s physician at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. Manny’s mother knows there are no guarantees. She saw Manny at his worst, 6 years old and just 35 pounds, too weak to walk. If Manny suffers a relapse before the end of this year, there are few treatment options left for him. But Manny knows there is hope. He even named his pet Shar-Pei Miracle – simply because he is still alive. In pictures taken of Manny at the hospital, his demeanor defies the ferocious cancer and the devastating treatments. He hams it up for the camera, giving a thumbs-up sign or flexing his muscles. Outside the hospital, that attitude is still evident. A cap embroidered “Police” covered his head of thin hair, just now growing back after chemotherapy, and his brown eyes lit up as Officer Adrian Flores flicked on the siren. “It felt like a special day today, like a surprise,” Manny said. The ride is any boy’s dream, but, as Chief Anthony Alba said, it was granted because little Manny lived through every child’s and parent’s worst nightmare. He knows. His own child – now 27 – was diagnosed with a cancerous growth on his liver at 11 months. “Your whole world stops and your whole focus is on the life of your child and doing whatever they can to make their life better,” he said. The world did stop for Elizabeth Fernandez, her husband and their four other children. Trips to the supermarket are no longer quick. A simple cold can turn into pneumonia, and strangers – met in hospital rooms – suddenly become lifelong friends. In her heart, Manny is all better. And in his, he is better, too. “All I have been through, I could have died,” he said. “It is a miracle.” Rachel Uranga, (805) 583-7604 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more