by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Following four-plus rounds of action in defense of his WEC lightweight title, champion Jamie “C-4” Varner will have to do some major rehabilitation after the injuries sustained in the fight, one of which that could end his career.
Varner’s performance to trump top contender Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone was impressive, but when the fight was finished the defending champion had to deal with a broken hand, a broken foot, and possibly a detached retina.
The champion spoke to MMAWeekly Radio on Wednesday and says that he’s not exactly sure when he broke his hand or foot during the bout.
“I’ve narrowed it down to second or third round, there was a possibility there was a shot on the ground in the first round where I grazed his right eye, and then hit the mat, but my adrenaline was going so crazy,” Varner said about the hand injury.
“I just remember it starting to hurt in the second round and the third round as I was trying to do more elbows, and if you notice in the second round, I really started moving. I’m on my bike a lot more, doing a lot more running, cause I felt a sting in my hand. I’m not exactly sure which shot it was that hurt my hand.
“I’m pretty sure my foot, when I kicked him in the face. That could have been the one that broke my foot, or when he checked one of my inside leg kicks. I could have broken my foot right there. Either second or fourth round where I broke my foot, but it’s somewhere in the first three rounds where I broke my hand.”
The Arizona Combat Sports fighter says that he really felt the sting of the broken hand in the fourth round as the pain shot through his body when he connected a punch on his opponent, while the foot prevented him from bouncing and moving as much on his toes as he would have liked.
The strike that brought about the end of the fight and possibly the most damaging blow to the champion’s career was the illegal knee strike that caught Varner on the right side of his face.
“That’s probably the only damaging blow he hit me with in the whole night,” Varner commented about the knee strike. “He nailed me with that knee right between the eye and the temple and there’s a nice little round mark that goes around to my eyebrow and underneath my eye that’s in the shape of his knee.”
The champion goes on to explain that the doctor came in and examined his eye and after determining the possible injury, the fight was stopped.
“Ultimately when the doctor came in, I’m like, ‘I can’t see out of my right eye, can’t see out of my right eye,’ and it was making me nauseous. Then he closed my left eye and was like shining the light in my right eye and my pupil wasn’t responding. That’s ultimately why he stopped the fight,” said Varner. “I showed all the signs and symptoms for a detached retina. If that’s the case, my career is over.”
While he waits to visit the eye doctor early next week, Varner will have pins inserted into his hand and a cast placed on his broken foot on Friday. As far as the eye, the champion says that he still has trouble with his peripheral vision, experiences blurriness, and had trouble with his eye adjusting to bright light.
“I’m scared that my career could be over. I have yet to accomplish everything I want to accomplish in this sport, and I’m really nervous. I know my hand will heal, I know my foot will heal, but I’m worried about this eye thing,” Varner stated.
The champion maintains a positive attitude through the situation, knowing that his ultimate goal is to get back in the cage and defend his title again. Assuming his eye is given the okay from the doctors, Varner believes his rehab time will be tough, but as long as it ensures his return he can deal with it.
“With the fracture I’ve got going on in my hand I was lucky enough to get into surgery soon. I’m looking at about a six to eight week recovery time for my hand, and I’m looking at about three to four weeks for my foot, so I probably wouldn’t be able to spar or do anything like that,” said Varner.
With an approximate two-month recovery time, followed by a two to three month training camp, Varner is more than happy to offer Cerrone a rematch based on the outcome of their last encounter.
“I think Donald’s a great next fight for me. I have a lot of respect for the guy, but I think it’s an easy next fight,” Varner said. “I can make that fight a lot easier than I made it. I respected him too much. I respected his abilities way too much, so that’s a great next fight for me, and I see that being a much easier victory than it was last time.”
The WEC lightweight champion has promised to keep MMAWeekly.com informed of his status after a trip to the eye doctor next week. Stay tuned for more information on this story as it becomes available.