Press Release courtesy of Bellator Fighting Championships
Jared Hess, whose grit and determination following a gruesome knee injury at Bellator 20 last Thursday won him legions of new fans across the country, said Friday that he will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery next week and expects to make a full recovery in 4 to 6 months.
Hess revealed that he sustained the injury – a third-degree tear of the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) – early on in the first round of his Middleweight Tournament semifinal fight against Alexander Shlemenko. Still, he somehow managed to soldier on through the pain for a round-and-a-half until the knee buckled at the conclusion of Round 2 and the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
“The thing is, I really didn’t even feel it at the time … I don’t know if it was my adrenaline, but all I could think about was trying to finish that guy,” Hess said. “I had a chance to watch it on TV after the fight and I think it really looked a lot worse than it is. It’s a bad tear, but the three other ligaments (the ACL, the PCL and the MCL) are all fine. My spirits are high, and I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll be back in the cage soon. The thing I’m most upset about is that, in my eyes, I was winning that fight. I’d love to get a rematch with (Shlemenko) once I come back.”
Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney, meanwhile, vowed that Hess “will always have a home with Bellator,” calling the 26-year-old Oklahoman “the personification of the Bellator spirit.”
“Jared Hess is really a throwback to the kind of warrior mentality that existed long ago. You don’t see that very often in sports today and, when you do, it speaks loudly to the power of the human spirit and the will to win,” Rebney said. “I can’t say enough about the character that Jared displayed in our cage last week. His level of courage, determination and never-say-die spirit is something very special to see.
“Immediately after his knee buckled and the referee forced Jared to sit down, he turned to me and started asking me to step in and tell the referee that he should be allowed to finish the fight. He did exactly the same thing last year in his championship fight against Hector Lombard, when he argued with the doctor to let him keep fighting with a gaping cut on his head. I’m proud that Jared is a part of our organization and I am 100 percent confident that he’ll be back fighting again under the Bellator banner better than ever following his rehab.”