Tony Ferguson’s injury that ruled him out of a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov was literally a freak accident, the UFC lightweight has revealed.
Ferguson has a ruptured LCL ligament that’s hanging off the fibula bone. It could potentially require surgery, although Ferguson is awaiting the verdict of a specialist. He appeared on MMAFighting’s The MMA Hour today in his first interview since the stunning news of his withdrawal yesterday.
“Thursday the injury actually happened during my media obligations for the UFC,” Ferguson said to host Ariel Helwani. “I was walking to say hi to a Fox crew member and I slipped on one of those big black cords, like in the production studio. But it was dark, and it was hard to see. I wasn’t wearing my shades, I had actually had my prescription sunglasses on.
“I don’t know the severity of it, but UFC PR were with me and they saw it happen. Throughout the whole entire day they were asking me if I was okay, but it happened so fast, it’s one week out from fight night on Easter weekend.. You guys know me. I don’t like to pull out, it sucks to pull out. But it’s part of the fight game.
“Khabib’s pulled out of the fight twice, now I’ve pulled out of the fight twice. I’ll heal in no time and I’ll be ready to defend my belt against whoever.”
Ferguson did reveal that he’d attempted to push through the pain, but after attempting to workout multiple times, it was clear the knee wasn’t going to work for him.
“I heard it pop … Afterwards I went home and did a pool workout and started to feel tension and things after the workout,” Ferguson said. “I woke up on Friday with some pain, and I still tried to push through it — and you guys know me, I’m tough — I tried even to train that evening, and after even taking the day to rest, but my knee locked up.
“I woke up Saturday, but seriously I tried to push through and train again, but it locked up again, even giving out on me a few times.”
At that point, Ferguson visited his doctor and had an MRI. After those images were shared with the UFC doctor, Ferguson was informed he wouldn’t be able to compete — despite his desperation to compete and make “millions of dollars” for his family.
Ferguson has been replaced in the contest against Nurmagomedov by UFC featherweight Max Holloway, and according to UFC president Dana White, has been stripped of his UFC interim lightweight championship.
That last part, Ferguson says, was news to him.
“My team and I haven’t spoken to the UFC yet,” Ferguson said. “But when I saw the interview, it shocked me and it hurt even more for something I couldn’t control with this injury. The UFC haven’t said anything to me about my title going away, and I don’t think it’ll go away.
“They shouldn’t strip a champion due to a freak injury, that happened during a UFC obligated media event. Seriously, there is a precedent of having a fight for the real title and keeping an interim title in tact. They just did that with Robert Whittaker last year.
“I just hope they do the right thing.”