Among the UFC’s brightest young stars is hurt, and according to the company president she’s likely to be out of commission for a couple of years. It was revealed by UFC Tonight which TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena endured a devastating injury to her right knee during training that resulted in tears for her ACL, MCL, LCL, meniscus, and hamstring. MMAFighting.com reported 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 is set to get surgery on the knee following week once the swelling goes down. This is very sad news and everybody in the MMA world should wish Pena a speedy recovery as she embarks on what is going to be a dark time in her life as she will not be able to compete at the game she enjoys just at the time she had been starting to get really good at it. According to her official biography on UFC.com, Pena said,»When I found MMA I understood 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 doesn’t get any higher, and I’ve made it. It’s a great achievement for myself.» But for the upcoming time, she will not have MMA within her entire life. Nicknamed»The Venezuelan Vixen,» Pena entered TUF 18 with a 4-2 record and has been matched up against veteran Shayna Baszler in the preliminary round after defeating Gina Mazany to go into the home. Despite being a massive underdog into Baszler, Pena was able to rally after being down early to defeat 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 last November with a dominating first-round TKO win over Jessica Rakoczy. Currently ranked in the top 10 of the women’s bantamweight division, Pena had been set to face Jessica Andrade in UFC 171 this 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 harm Pena suffered 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 strange given the severity of this injury. Based on White’s tweet which»what occurred at her gym is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever noticed,» there’s obviously more to the story. There is already speculation that this wasn’t just an accident, but that somebody at Pena’s camp held to a entry overly long, possibly a heel hook that’s highly frowned upon to do while training with teammates. That’s just speculation for now, however, although I really don’t by for a moment that this harm was just an accident based on what White’s tweet. It was considerably more inclined carelessness was the cause. This is very disappointing news as I think Pena was a upcoming title contender in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Pena’s wrestling is excellent and she is improving her overall game so rapidly that she’d be a serious competitor for the UFC bantamweight name within the next couple of years. Remember her beef with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey in the series meant she would have been pushed up the ladder faster than many others. But this injury will obviously delay that chance to struggle for the belt, and it is possible that the injury renders that dream hopeless. For someone who is just 24, it’s really not fair that Pena has had to deal with all these injuries and bad luck as such a young age. Before TUF 18 was first filmed, Pena was involved in a horrible car accident that left her with a broken nose. She had also suffered a broken arm in one of her fights, as well as the previous two ACL tears before in her career. But that is life, and life isn’t fair. Pena was employed as a waitress before TUF and living at home with her family. With her career just about to remove, Pena had been anticipating moving out and embarking on a promising career in the sport. Now, she’ll be outside sitting on the sidelines for around another 24 month after suffering one of the worst knee injuries ever to a UFC fighter, and she will have trouble making a living while doing so. I am hoping the UFC assists out Pena financially through her off time 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’s capped at $50,000 yearly and might not cover all of Pena’s medical-related costs. So 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 shortly, but for now let us all desire Pena good luck on her surgery next week and let’s hope she can conquer the estimated two year layoff and return into the crate sooner than later because she is a tremendous fighter and has a bright future in the game.
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