Cal Worsham. Photo courtesy of Gladiator Challenge.
UFC President Dana White continually harps on the fact that a death or serious injury has never occurred in the Octagon. He’s right, at least during his watch over the organization. Jake Rossen’s new article at Sherdog.com lists the 10 “gnarliest” injuries that have happened in MMA competition, and points out that Cal Worsham’s broken torso suffered during UFC 9 nearly put the sport down for good:
Mired in political smothering, UFC 9 was allowed to go forward in Detroit only when organizers agreed no closed-fist strikes to the head would be allowed. (A modest fine was the only punishment.)
A punch to the face was the least of Worsham’s concerns: Charging toward Frazier, Worsham ate a knee to the chest that broke ribs, damaged his heart and collapsed his lung. Worsham spent a week in the hospital and was told his chances of surviving were questionable. Thirteen years later, it remains the most life-threatening injury ever sustained in the Octagon.
Had Worsham not gotten competent medical help, it’s probable this sport, this site and this space would be vaporware—a fatality at that stage more than enough ammunition for John McCain and cohorts to drill MMA with until it flat-lined.
None of this, incidentally, derailed Worsham from winning the fight. He waited until he was backstage to collapse.
Worsham made a full recovery and went on to fight professional eighteen more times, including the UFC, where he fell to Tank Abbott at Ultimate Ultimate ‘96. He currently operates his “Team X” fighting camp out of California, a stable that includes EliteXC veteran Jaime Jara.
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