One of the UFC’s brightest young stars is injured, and according to the company president she is likely to be out of commission for two decades. It was yesterday revealed by UFC Tonight that TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena suffered a catastrophic 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 in Sikjitsu fitness center in Spokane, Washington. In accordance with UFC president Dana White, the injury is so severe that the 24-year-old Pena is expected to miss two decades of actions. She’s set to have surgery on the knee next week once the swelling goes down. This is quite sad news and everybody in the MMA world should wish Pena a speedy recovery as she embarks on what will be a dark period in her life as she won’t have the ability to compete in the sport she enjoys just at the time she was starting to get really good at it. According to her official biography on UFC.com, Pena said,”When I discovered MMA I understood 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 high as it gets, it will not get any higher, and I have made it. It’s a great accomplishment for myself.” However, for the upcoming little while, she won’t have MMA within 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 defeating Gina Mazany to enter the house. Despite being a large underdog into Baszler, Pena was able to rally after being early to defeat Baszer through second-round entry. She subsequently submitted Sara Moras in the semifinals to earn a birth in the finale, and she won the show last November with a dominating first-round TKO win over Jessica Rakoczy. Currently ranked in the top 10 of those women’s bantamweight division, Pena had been set to face Jessica Andrade in UFC 171 this March before 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 endured was the”most grisly” he’d 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 this accident. Based on White’s tweet that”what occurred at her gym is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard,” there is obviously much more to the narrative. There’s already speculation that this wasn’t just an crash, but that someone in Pena’s camp held to a submission too long, maybe a heel hook which is highly frowned upon to perform while training with teammates. That’s just speculation for the time being, however, though I really don’t by for a moment that this injury was only an accident based on which White’s tweet. It was considerably more inclined carelessness was the trigger. This is extremely disappointing news as I believe Pena was a upcoming title contender from the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Pena’s wrestling is exceptional and she is improving her entire game so rapidly that she’d be a serious competitor for the UFC bantamweight title within the next couple of years. Keep in mind her beef with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey from the series supposed she would have been pushed up the ladder quicker than many others. However, this injury will obviously delay that opportunity to fight for the belt, and it is possible that the injury renders that fantasy impossible. For someone who is just 24, it’s really not reasonable that Pena has had to deal with all these injuries and bad fortune as such a young age. Before TUF 18 was filmed, Pena had been involved in a horrible car accident that left her with a busted nose. She had suffered a broken arm in one of her struggles, as well as the previous two ACL tears earlier in her career. But that is life, and life is not fair. Pena was employed as a waitress before TUF and also living in the home with her family. Together with her career just going to take off, Pena had been anticipating moving out and embarking on a promising career in the game. Now, she’ll be out sitting on the sidelines for around another 24 month after enduring one of the worst knee injuries ever into a UFC fighter, and she will have trouble making a living while doing this. I am hoping that the UFC assists out Pena financially through her time off because, after all, she is an investment for the company. The UFC does have an insurance plan which should pay part of Pena’s surgery, but it’s capped at $50,000 annually and may not cover all of Pena’s medical-related expenses. So hopefully the UFC can do the perfect thing and help her out in her time of need. We get the full story about what happened to Pena soon, but for now let us all wish Pena good luck on her surgery next week and let’s hope she can conquer the estimated two year layoff and get back in the cage earlier than later because she is a tremendous fighter and has a bright future in the sport.
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