Former welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre returned to the Octagon after four years away from the sport at UFC 217 on Nov. 4 and captured the middleweight title by choking out Michael Bisping. Adding to the impressive accomplishment, St-Pierre suffered a neck injury early in the title bout.
St-Pierre did not attend the post-fight press conference because he was transported to the hospital. Part of the reason why he was taken for evaluation was due to the neck injury.
“During the fight, I got hit with an elbow behind the head at the back of the skull. It’s attached to the spinal cord. When I got hit, I got kind of a flash knockdown a little bit. I got a very bad inflammation in my neck and I couldn’t really move my head much, especially at the end when I cooled down after the fight,” said St-Pierre during a media conference call on Thursday. “It was terrible. I couldn’t even tie up my shoes. It was very bad.”
“Rush” watched a replay of the fight and believes he suffered the injury occurred in the first round. He fought on for two more rounds before getting the finish late in the third frame.
“It happened, I believe, in the first round. It looked very insignificant when it happened, but it was really there. It’s not the strength of the hit. It was more the precision of it,” he said. “It’s not (Bisping’s) fault. We’re not allowed to hit there, but it’s not his fault. I think it was just during the heat of the fight.
“My neck was so inflamed that when I was on the floor I had a hard time posturing up to strike because it was hurting me very bad. I felt like my muscles couldn’t contract. I couldn’t contract my head to posture up and strike. It was a very weird feeling. I felt like my muscle was numb and dead. It was very strange. After the fight when I cooled down it was very terrible,” added St-Pierre.
Fortunately for the newly crowned middleweight champion, the injury wasn’t serious. While he still has soreness in his neck, no longterm damage was done.
“It’s still sore, but it got a lot better now that I got treatment on it,” he said. “I’ll be back 100-percent ready.”