Mark Munoz Targets Summer Return to UFC

February 19, 2012

It was one of the toughest calls Mark Munoz has ever had to make.

He was just days away from the biggest fight of his MMA career, facing Chael Sonnen with a shot at the UFC middleweight title on the line, and an old injury came back to bite him.

“I’ve been dealing with this injury for quite some time, since my first WEC fight, and I continue to injure it with each fight and in training too, so there’s just been some complications and some bone spurs that have developed throughout that time,” Munoz described about the injury that ultimately kept him out of his fight with Chael Sonnen.

Munoz was in the middle of a tough wrestling practice at his gym, the Reign Training Center, and when a move went wrong, he knew something wasn’t right.

“Just recently what I did was I had an underhook going for a knee pick, a wrestling move on the opposite side, and as I was doing that my elbow was in his armpit as he whizzered and put pressure down with his overhook. My elbow slipped out of his armpit and it got caught in his whizzer. My underhook got shallow and his whizzer pressured onto my elbow causing kind of an Americana joint lock and my elbow popped twice,” Munoz said when speaking with MMAWeekly Radio.

Munoz tried to keep going even though his elbow popped. He eventually did four more rounds with limited success. As time went on, the pain became worse and worse and Munoz essentially lost the use of his arm because of the injury.

That was when he had to make the dreaded call to his manager Mike Roberts. He told him that his arm was in bad shape and something had to be done.

Munoz visited doctors, who gave him a localized cortisone shot to try and numb the pain, but it was simply a band-aid on an open wound. Eventually, as the calls continued, the last one had to be made to UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to say that Munoz would be forced out of the fight.

The end result was Munoz undergoing surgery to repair the injury that had plagued him for a few years.

“They shaved off the bone spurs that were still along my elbow and then the chips that were all inside my joints they vacuumed out. It was pretty nasty. They took out about 24 pieces and about five of them were half to an inch in diameter. It was pretty nasty what they pulled out,” Munoz stated.

Now the former NCAA champion will undergo a few months of rehab before he can get back into fight shape and give Joe Silva the call he really wants to make… that he’s ready to return to fighting.

“The doctors are saying four to six weeks before I can put any stress on it. They said that before they had the surgery that it would be May when I came back, after they had the surgery they’re saying late June, July. That’s what they’re saying now,” said Munoz. “It puts me on the shelf a little longer.”

Munoz is hopeful to return to face a top middleweight when he comes back, no matter who it is. Never one to be slowed down, Munoz is already pushing the pace with his rehab to insure that he will be back at 100-percent as soon as possible.

“It’s only a bump in the road, I’ll be back stronger,” Munoz promised. “I’m excited to come back.”

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