by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy www.CungLe.com)

Injuries abound in combat sports such as MMA. It’s a forgone conclusion that almost any time a fighter steps into or out of the cage, one thing or another is going to be damaged.

So when a fighter sustains broken bones it’s not that rare, but to do so during the early portion of a fight and continue to go the entire scheduled three rounds, that’s saying something.

Such is the ilk of Cung Le student Jose Palacios. In his Main Event fight at this past Saturday’s Strikeforce: Young Guns event in San Jose, Jose suffered such an injury against opponent Miguel Linarez and kept on fighting, earning a well-deserved unanimous decision victory.

“It was my first fight to this magnitude, first time being a main event in an MMA event, and actually I broke my hand in that first round,” said Palacios of his Strikeforce debut. “I caught him with, if I remember this correctly, a right overhand and broke it right away.”

“I knew I had to keep going and all he was trying to do was keep taking me down, and he did a bunch of times, but I got up and it was my striking [that made the difference], and I ended up getting the decision. It was super-fun,” continued Jose with a chuckle.

Any time one of your primary weapons is taken away from you in a fight it can cause a major readjustment, and more often than not, a loss, but Palacios made the necessary corrections to win the fight.

“It kind of changed my gameplan a little bit,” said Jose of his broken hand. “I wanted to strike more. I ended up hitting him with the same [broken] hand a couple times, but every time I hit it, I felt it just get worse. So I changed my striking with open palm.”

Palacios added, “So as far as me changing everything completely, not really, I just kept going anyway. I threw some kicks, but every time I kicked this guy [Linarez] would shoot in, so pretty much I just didn’t want to get taken down and get submitted. That was my biggest concern right there, because I heard he was a strong grappler.”

Jose, along with USH! Fight Team teammates Elaina Maxwell and Andrew Valladerez, were the main attraction on the card. So when Maxwell and Valladerez failed to win their fights, it could be assumed more pressure would then shift to Palacios to win for his team and hometown. But as Jose explains, that’s not necessarily the case.

“Actually the pressure of my teammates losing wasn’t half as bad as the pressure [I received] when my coach called me that morning,” explained Jose. “Originally there was 13 fights lined up, and some of the fighters couldn’t go because they didn’t pass their medicals. I hadn’t gotten a signature from one of my doctors, so that morning they called me and said if I didn’t get the paperwork done the whole event would be cancelled.”

“So that right there – that was major pressure. With my teammates losing, I felt it a little bit, but I figured they’re not out there with me fighting with me, so I just had to do what I had to do and that there was no way I was going to lose,” further commented Palacios.

Jose now runs his MMA record to 3-0 overall, and along with his coach Cung Le and other members of their school, provides further validation of San Shou-based fighters in MMA.

“For me, to represent my team, it feels great,” exclaimed Palacios. “I’ve been with Cung Le, Elaina and Andrew since the beginning. I’ve learned everything here. So for me to show everything I can do, it’s an honor.”

Jose continued, “I do it with pride, love, and they do it too. I’ll gladly do it until I can’t do it anymore. We just kind of jumped right [into MMA] and we’ve been doing really well. It feels great, especially when people are talking about Cung Le’s school becoming the next AKA [American Kickboxing Academy] in San Jose.”

Even with his injury, Palacios intends to remain busy and once he returns he will continue to build a name for himself through activity and impressive performances.

“The last time I broke my hand it took about 6 weeks for the cast to come off, and another 4 weeks for to heal enough to where it could take a shot, so I’m looking at about three months off,” stated Jose.”[When I come back] I’d like to stay active and fight maybe once or twice a month if possible, but now since I broke my hand I have to step back a little bit.”

“I’m still going to stay in shape, running, doing pads, doing jiu-jitsu and say active in the gym, it’s just I have to step back from fighting for right now. Once it heals I’ll be back in the show,” continued Palacios with conviction.

Jose closed out the interview by wanting to give thanks to his supporters for helping him not only be able to fight, but for giving him the inspiration to keep fighting through the pain in Saturday night’s victory.

“I’d like to thank: SCORE Clinic, KNOXX Gear, Registered Clothing, Strong Bon, Cung Le for training me and basically putting up with me [laughs], and of course the fans,” concluded Palacios. “The fans actually had a lot to do with that last fight, they were shouting my name and it energized me. I wouldn’t be anywhere or be anything without my fans, so thank you, thank you very, very much.”