by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com (Photo courtesy of UFC)
(Photography by Josh Hedges, copyright Zuffa, LLC.)
Accepting the fight against Matt Hughes as the main event of UFC 85, Thiago Alves understood the importance of the bout. A title shot could be on the line. Superstar status in the world of MMA could be on the line. But for all the status that followed the fight of his lifetime, Alves was unable to make the 170-pound weight limit.
“I sprained my ankle really, really bad, the Thursday the week before the fight at the sparring session. I was out for three days and I couldn’t do much. I couldn’t walk and I took an x-ray and everything,” Alves explained during an appearance on MMAWeekly Radio on Monday night. “I didn’t break anything, but I sprained the ankle. The ligament was really bad, everything was really swollen, so I just did physical therapy.”
Immediately, Alves took it upon himself to notify his manager and the management of the Ultimate Fighting Championship about the injury.
“I called my manager, Mr. Dan Lambert, and I told him to call Joe Silva and everything, to ask permission so I could take a cortisone shot, that was pretty much it. I couldn’t do anything for three days, so my weight got really heavy,” Alves commented. “I couldn’t work out. When you take a cortisone shot, you kind of hold water in your body, and I was doing fine, but the last four pounds I couldn’t make it, I couldn’t do it. I sat in the sauna; it was really bad. I apologize to the UFC, I apologize to all my fans.”
Despite Alves’ willingness to battle through the pain to make the fight happen, his doctors actually advised against his participation in the bout because of the severely sprained ankle.
“I talked to my doctor and everything and I told them ‘No I want to fight. It doesn’t matter; I want to fight. I want to fight.’ They said, ‘Listen, if you have any broken bones, you’re not going to fight. I’m not going to sign off for you to fight.’ Just thankful not to have anything broke, and thank God I didn’t,” stated Alves.
“He said, ‘I still think you shouldn’t fight.’ Look at my ankle right now, it’s even swollen right now, because of the fight, it’s even bigger than it was before the fight, but everything’s good. It was all worth it.”
Alves confirmed in the interview with MMAWeekly Radio that because he didn’t make weight he would have to give his opponent, Matt Hughes, 10% of his purse. The former champion was aware of the situation and was okay taking the fight.
Hughes himself confirmed as much following the fight.
Still adamant about trying to make the weight for the fight happen, Alves said the whole situation did take its toll mentally because he was unable to make 170 pounds.
“I called my manager crying, going crazy, ‘I can’t make the weight, I’ll have to pass out, Dan, I can’t make the weight.'”
The upper management of the UFC dealt with the situation professionally, as did Hughes, and the fight was allowed to continue. In the end, Alves walked out with a knockout victory over the two time former welterweight champion and now that the fight and the weight situation are behind him, Alves has gold on his mind.
“We’re waiting right now for the UFC to call. I think I got one more fight in the contract, so we got to re-negotiate the contract and everything. I think the next fight’s going to be for the title,” Alves said. “I’ve got to wait for Georges St. Pierre and Jon Fitch to fight and we’ll see. I want to be the champion. I know I’m going to be the champion, I know it. It’s just a matter of time.”
And while St. Pierre and Fitch battle for the UFC welterweight title on Aug. 9 in Minnesota, Alves says he’ll be sitting front row center waiting for the winner to emerge and he’ll be ready for the challenge.
“I’ll be there,” he stated. “I’ll be more than ready. I’m ready right now.”