One of the UFC’s brightest young stars is injured, and according to the company president she’s likely to be out of commission for a couple of years. It was yesterday revealed by UFC Tonight that TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena endured a devastating injury to her right knee during training that led to tears for her ACL, MCL, LCL, meniscus, and hamstring. MMAFighting.com reported the injury happened during a grappling session on 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 a couple of years of actions. She’s set to have surgery on the knee next week when the swelling goes down. This is quite sad news and everybody in the MMA world should want Pena a quick recovery because she embarks on what is going to be a dark time in her life as she will not be able to compete in the game she loves just at the time she had been beginning to get really good at it. According to her official biography on UFC.com, Pena said,”After I discovered MMA I realized it was the outlet I needed and was searching for.” About battling in the Octagon, Pena stated:”This means the world to me to be more fighting in the UFC. This is as high as it’s, it will not get any higher, and I have made it. It’s a great accomplishment for myself.” But for the next little while, she will not have MMA within her life. Nicknamed”The Venezuelan Vixen,” Pena entered TUF 18 with a 4-2 record and was paired up against veteran Shayna Baszler from the preliminary round after beating Gina Mazany to enter the house. Despite being a large underdog into Baszler, Pena was able 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 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 was set to confront Jessica Andrade at UFC 171 this March prior to 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 grisly” he had ever seen in sports. According to Little, Pena’s harm was the consequence of an over-aggressive training session, which seems odd given the severity of the injury. According to White’s tweet which”what occurred at her gym is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever noticed,” there is obviously more to the story. There’s already speculation that this was not only an crash, but that someone at Pena’s camp held to a submission too 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 don’t by for a moment that this harm was just an accident based on which White’s tweet. It was much more likely carelessness was the trigger. This is very 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’s improving her overall game so rapidly that she would 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’d have been pushed up the ladder faster than others. But this injury will obviously delay that opportunity to struggle for the belt, and it’s possible that the injury renders that fantasy hopeless. For someone who is only 24, it’s really not fair that Pena has had 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 which left her with a busted nose. She had suffered a broken arm one of her fights, as well as the previous two ACL tears before in her career. But that is life, and life is not fair. Pena was working as a waitress before TUF and also living at home with her loved ones. Together with her career just going to take off, Pena was looking forward to 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 among the worst knee injuries ever to a UFC fighter, and she’ll have trouble making a living while doing so. I hope the UFC assists out Pena financially through her time off because, after all, she’s an investment for the company. The UFC does have an insurance policy that should cover a portion of Pena’s operation, but it’s capped at $50,000 annually and might not cover all 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 complete story about what happened to Pena soon, but for now let us all desire Pena great luck on her operation next week and let’s hope she is able to conquer the estimated two year layoff and return into the cage earlier than later because she’s a tremendous fighter and has a bright future in the game.
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