One of the UFC’s brightest young stars is injured, and as stated by the company president she’s going to be out of commission for two decades. It was revealed by UFC Tonight that TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena suffered a catastrophic injury to her right knee during training that resulted in tears for her ACL, MCL, LCL, meniscus, and hamstring. MMAFighting.com reported the injury occurred during a grappling session Monday at 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 years of action. She is set to have surgery on the knee following week once the swelling goes down. This is quite sad news and everybody in the MMA world ought to wish Pena a quick 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 loves just at the time she had been starting to get great at it. According to her official biography on UFC.com, Pena said,»After I discovered MMA I understood it was the outlet I needed and was looking for.» About battling in the Octagon,» Pena said:»It means the world for me to be fighting in the UFC. This is as high as it’s, it doesn’t get any higher, and I’ve made it. It is a great achievement for myself.» But for the upcoming time, she will not have MMA in her life. Nicknamed»The Venezuelan Vixen,» Pena entered TUF 18 with a 4-2 record and has been paired up against veteran Shayna Baszler in 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 down early to conquer Baszer through second-round submission. She subsequently submitted Sara Moras in 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 in UFC 171 that March before being forced to pull out this knee injury. Andrade will now face Raquel Pennington. UFC Tonight’s Ariel Helwani managed to talk to Pena’s trainer 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 result of an over-aggressive training session, which seems odd given the seriousness of the injury. Based on White’s tweet that»what occurred at her gym is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard,» there’s obviously much more to the narrative. There is already speculation that this was not just an accident, but that someone in Pena’s camp held on to a entry overly long, possibly a heel hook which is highly frowned upon to perform while training with teammates. That’s only speculation for now, though, although I don’t by for a minute that this injury was only an accident based on which White’s tweet. It was much more inclined carelessness was the trigger. This is very disappointing news as I believe Pena was a future title contender in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Pena’s wrestling is exceptional and she is improving her entire game so quickly that she’d be a serious competitor for the UFC bantamweight name within the next two decades. Remember her beef with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey from the series meant she’d have been pushed up the ladder faster than others. However, this injury will obviously delay that chance to struggle for the belt, and it’s possible that the injury renders that fantasy impossible. For someone who is just 24, it is not reasonable that Pena has had to deal with so many injuries and bad luck as such a young age. Before TUF 18 was first filmed, Pena had been involved in a horrible car accident which left her with a broken nose. She had suffered a broken arm one of her struggles, as well as the preceding 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 living at home with her loved ones. 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 will be outside sitting on the sidelines for up to the next 24 month after enduring one of the worst knee injuries ever into a UFC fighter, and she’ll have difficulty making a living while doing so. I am hoping that the UFC helps 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 pay part of Pena’s surgery, but it is capped at $50,000 annually and may not cover most of Pena’s medical-related expenses. So 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 shortly, but for today let us all wish Pena good luck on her surgery next week and let us hope she is able to conquer the estimated two year layoff and return into the cage earlier than later because she is a huge fighter and has a bright future in the sport.
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