Among the UFC’s brightest young stars is hurt, and as stated by the company president she’s likely to be out of commission for a couple of decades. It was yesterday revealed by UFC Tonight that TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena suffered a devastating injury to her right knee during training that led to tears to her ACL, MCL, LCL, meniscus, and hamstring. MMAFighting.com reported that the injury occurred during a grappling session on Monday at Sikjitsu gym 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 years of actions. She is 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 speedy recovery as she embarks on what will be a dark period in her life as she won’t have the ability to compete at the sport she loves just at the time she was beginning to get really good 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 searching for.” About battling in the Octagon, Pena said:”It means the world for me to be fighting in the UFC. This is as large as it’s, it doesn’t get any higher, and I have made it. It is a fantastic accomplishment for myself.” But for the next little while, she will not have MMA in her life. Nicknamed”The Venezuelan Vixen,” Pena entered TUF 18 with a 4-2 record and has been matched up against veteran Shayna Baszler from the preliminary round after defeating Gina Mazany to go into the house. Despite being a massive underdog into Baszler, Pena was able to rally after being down early to defeat Baszer via second-round entry. She then 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 confront Jessica Andrade in UFC 171 that March before being forced to pull out with this knee injury. Andrade will face Raquel Pennington. UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani managed to speak to Pena’s trainer at Sikjitsu, Rick Little, who said the injury Pena suffered 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 severity of this accident. Based on White’s tweet which”what occurred at her gym is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever noticed,” there is obviously more to the narrative. There’s already speculation that this was not just an crash, but that somebody at Pena’s camp held to a entry too long, maybe a heel hook that’s highly frowned upon to do while training with teammates. That is just speculation for the time being, though, though I really don’t by for a minute that this injury was only an accident based on which White’s tweet. It was much more likely carelessness was the trigger. This is extremely 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 would be a serious competitor for the UFC bantamweight title within the next two decades. Keep in mind her beef with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey from the series meant she would have been pushed up the ladder faster than others. However, this injury will obviously delay that opportunity to struggle for the belt, and it’s possible the injury renders that dream hopeless. For someone who is only 24, it is really not reasonable that Pena has had to cope with all these injuries and bad luck as such a young age. Before TUF 18 was filmed, Pena was involved in a horrible car accident which left her with a broken nose. She had also suffered a broken arm in one of her fights, in addition to the previous two ACL tears before in her career. But that’s life, and life isn’t fair. Pena was employed as a waitress before TUF and also living at home with her family. With her career just going to remove, Pena had been anticipating moving out and embarking on a promising career in the game. Now, she’ll be outside sitting on the sidelines for up to another 24 month after enduring among the worst knee injuries ever into a UFC fighter, and she will have trouble making a living while doing so. I hope that the UFC helps out Pena financially during her off time because, after all, she is an investment to the corporation. The UFC does have an insurance plan which should pay a portion of Pena’s operation, but it is capped at $50,000 annually and might not cover most of Pena’s medical-related costs. So hopefully the UFC can do the right thing and help her out in her time of need. Hopefully we get the full story about what happened to Pena soon, but for now let’s all desire Pena good luck on her operation next week and let’s hope she can beat the projected two year layoff and return into the crate earlier than later because she is a huge fighter and has a bright future in the game.
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