Injuries. All fighters get injured. That’s a part of the sport. How does it feel physically to be in a fight? Dr. Beau Hightower compared it to being in “several car wrecks”. Fighting brings many health risks to the fighters. Fighters spend months preparing for a bout. The big fight can either last a few seconds and be over quickly, or it can last all 5 rounds. The more it lasts, the more injuries fighters can get the longer the recovery is.

Recovery can be lengthy

Even if fighters manage to avoid injury, it still can take weeks or even months to recover. Because of powerful strikes, their hands, feet, and elbows get sore and swollen. After grappling-based fights, there is soreness in the forearms, shoulders, back, and hips. Hard shots to the head might put a fighter in a haze for a few days. They might suffer headaches and neck pain. Body shots leave the ribs and abdominals aching. It might hurt to breathe. UFC lightweight Scott Holtzman shared: “Sometimes I get so sore that I can’t tie my own shoes, my wife has to put my shoes on and tie my laces for me … I can’t touch my fingers to my thumbs”.


Despite the hurt and the injuries, everyone can agree it feels good to win. However, it is much easier to put up with the injuries after a win, especially if there is a nice paycheck waiting for you. That is how UFC contracts are structured, the pay is much better if you win. Jessica-Rose Clark, an Australian MMA fighter said: “If you win the fight, you can put up with the injuries because You’re like: “F–k it. I’m going home with a fat paycheck, but if you lose and you are hurting and you have to travel and you only made half your paycheck? The whole ordeal sucks”.

Winning isn’t a magic medicine to injuries.

Fighters are also sore after a win. In fact, many fighters say the bouts that hurt the worst were the ones they won. Scott Holtzman told that his toughest fight was 5 rounds in the independent Xtreme Fighting Championships organization. In that fight, he won Roger Carroll by unanimous decision, but he stated that it took months to feel well again. Scott Holtzman explained it: “I beat the guy up real bad. I barely got hit, but it lasted five rounds, and the next day—and probably for two or three months after that—I was sore. Just my knees, my elbows, my hands. Still to this day, I’ve never been that sore after a fight, even the ones I’ve lost.

Fighters are said to be their own worst enemies. Why is that? Because despite all the injuries they receive after a fight, they still do it again and again. All of them do it for different reasons, but we can agree that the majority of them have a passion for the sport. Even after really bad injuries, some of them are ready to have another fight right away. It is that addictive feeling of fighting that a lot of fighters get, especially the thrilling feeling of winning. Rashad Evans, a retired MMA fighter explained – “If you win, it’s such a rush, and you feel great. That stays with you. There have been times that I’ve been so emotionally high after a fight. I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t even really eat food. I’m not even hungry. I’m not really sleepy. It’s just this euphoric drug, and you just feel amazing. You are higher than any drug could ever make you. That’s the most addictive part of fighting because you start chasing that feeling. You become like a junkie for that feeling.”

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