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MMA ODDS AND ENDS FOR THURSDAY: JULIANNA PENA OUT FOR TWO YEARS FOLLOWING CATASTROPHIC KNEE INJURY

One of the UFC’s brightest young stars is hurt, and according to the company president she’s going to be out of commission for a couple of 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 to her ACL, MCL, LCL, meniscus, and hamstring. MMAFighting.com reported that the injury happened during a grappling session on Monday at Sikjitsu gym in Spokane, Washington. According to UFC president Dana White, the injury is so severe that the 24-year-old Pena is expected to miss two years of actions. She’s set to have surgery on the knee following week when the swelling goes down. This is quite sad news and everyone in the MMA world ought to wish Pena a quick recovery because she embarks on what will be a dark time in her life as she won’t have the ability to compete at the sport she loves just at the time she had been beginning to get great at it. According to her official biography on UFC.com, Pena said,”After I discovered MMA I realized it was the socket I needed and was searching for.” About battling in the Octagon,” Pena said:”This means the world to me to be more fighting in the UFC. This is as large as it’s, it will not get any higher, and I’ve made it. It is a fantastic achievement for myself.” But for the upcoming time, she won’t 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 from the preliminary round after beating Gina Mazany to go into the home. Despite being a massive underdog to Baszler, Pena managed to rally after being down early to defeat Baszer through second-round entry. She then submitted Sara Moras in the semifinals to earn a birth in the finale, and she won the series 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 confront Jessica Andrade at 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 speak to Pena’s trainer at Sikjitsu, Rick Little, who said the harm Pena endured was the”most gruesome” he had ever seen in sports. According to Little, Pena’s injury was the consequence of an over-aggressive training session, which seems strange given the seriousness of this injury. Based on White’s tweet that”what happened at her gym is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard,” there’s obviously more to the narrative. There’s already speculation that this was not just an crash, but that somebody in Pena’s camp held on to a entry too long, possibly a heel hook which is highly frowned upon to do while training with teammates. That’s just speculation for now, however, although I don’t by for a minute that this harm was just an accident based on which White’s tweet. It was much more likely carelessness was the trigger. This is extremely disappointing news as I believe Pena was a upcoming title contender in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Pena’s wrestling is exceptional and she’s improving her entire game so quickly that she’d be a serious competitor for the UFC bantamweight title within the next couple of years. Remember her beef with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey in the show supposed 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 is possible that the injury renders that dream impossible. For someone who is just 24, it’s not reasonable that Pena has had to cope with so many injuries and bad fortune as such a young age. Before TUF 18 was filmed, Pena was involved in a horrible car accident that left her with a broken nose. She had suffered a broken arm one of her struggles, in addition to the preceding two ACL tears earlier in her career. But that is life, and life is not fair. Pena was working as a waitress before TUF and also living in the home with her family. With her career just about to take off, Pena was looking forward to moving out and embarking on a promising career in the sport. Now, she’ll be outside sitting on the sidelines for up to another 24 month after suffering among the worst knee injuries ever to a UFC fighter, and she will have trouble making a living while doing this. I am hoping the UFC helps out Pena financially through her time off because, after all, she is an investment for the corporation. The UFC does have an insurance policy that should pay part of Pena’s operation, but it is capped at $50,000 yearly and might not cover most Pena’s medical-related expenses. 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 today let us all desire Pena good luck on her surgery next week and let’s hope she is able to conquer the estimated two year layoff and get back into the crate earlier than later because she’s a huge fighter and has a bright future in the sport.

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