by Ivan Trembow
Sixteen fighters put their bodies on the line at UFC 54 this past Saturday, and early this week the Nevada State Athletic Commission handed down medical suspensions for seven of those fighters. While that’s not an unusually high amount for an MMA event, what is unusual is that three fighters on the same card received major, long-term medical suspensions.
Following two of the scariest knockouts in UFC history and frighteningly long periods of unconsciousness, Tra Telligman and Terry Martin were both suspended indefinitely, while Brian Gassaway was suspended for six months due to injuries sustained in his fight with Diego Sanchez.
Here is the full breakdown of medical suspensions.
-Tra Telligman is medically suspended indefinitely, and cannot fight again unless he is cleared by a neurologist, has a follow-up MRI of his brain, and has a follow-up hemoglobin test that is within the normal limits
-Terry Martin is medically suspended indefinitely, and cannot fight again unless he is cleared by a neurologist and has a follow-up MRI of his brain
-Brian Gassaway is medically suspended for six months unless a doctor clears fractures to his nose, interior nasal wall, and left maxilla
-Jeremy Horn is medically suspended for eight weeks due to punishment taken in his TKO loss
-Travis Lutter is medically suspended for six weeks due to multiple lacerations around both his left eye and his right eye
-Mike Van Arsdale is medically suspended for six weeks due to a laceration on his scalp
-Frank Trigg is medically suspended for six weeks due to a laceration on his forehead
Notes & Analysis:
-As usual, the only fighters who were drug-tested were the main-eventers and title fighters, which in this event’s case meant that only Chuck Liddell and Jeremy Horn were drug-tested. The toxicology reports for Liddell and Horn’s samples have not come back yet.
-Following the brutal knockouts of Tra Telligman and Terry Martin at UFC 54, the Nevada State Athletic Commission is not taking any chances with either fighter. Both fighters have had their licenses to fight suspended indefinitely, and they have to meet multiple requirements before they can get their licenses back. Telligman and Martin will each have to take and pass a thorough examination from a neurologist, and they will also need to have follow-up MRI scans on their brains. If these follow-up MRI scans show anything that raises the concerns of the athletic commission’s doctors, Telligman and Martin would still not be allowed to fight and would require additional testing.
In addition to all of this, Telligman also has to have a follow-up hemoglobin test that is within the normal limits. This more than likely indicates that Telligman has anemia, which is a condition in which the blood doesn’t produce enough oxygen due to a shortage of red blood cells, or a lack of iron in the red blood cells. Anemia is usually treated with blood transfusions and/or supplements that contain iron. Since the primary symptoms of anemia are dizziness, headaches, and fatigue, it’s generally not a good illness for a fighter to have, especially for a fighter who has been brutally knocked out. For this reason, the commission is likely to keep an even closer eye on Telligman in the future than on Martin.
-Brian Gassaway was handed a six-month medical suspension due to multiple fractures on his face. The ground-and-pound of Diego Sanchez resulted in Gassaway suffering a broken nose and a fracture in the left interior wall of his nose. Gassaway also fractured part of his maxilla, which often refers to a fighter’s jaw but in this case is a reference to a fracture in Gassaway’s sinus cavity.
-Jeremy Horn was medically suspended for eight weeks, which is a longer suspension than many KO victims get. For example, Gideon Ray was KO’ed at the Ultimate Fight Night event on August 6th, but he was only medically suspended for four weeks, not eight. The longer-than-normal suspension for Horn is likely the result of the commission being concerned with his vision problems during and after his fight with Chuck Liddell.
If you watch the tape of the fight, you can see that several punches landed on or near Horn’s cheek-bones and eyes in the flurry that accompanied the knockdown in the first round. Immediately after this flurry, Horn can clearly be seen rubbing his left eye. From that point on, Horn’s left eye and the area surrounding it are very red, and the area only gets more red as the fight goes on and he takes more punches.
Anyone who questions Horn’s heart due to the fact that he verbally submitted in the fourth round is severely misguided and detached from reality, as the fact of the matter is that Horn fought three full rounds with blurred vision, at great personal risk to his own health, in the hopes of winning the UFC Light-Heavyweight Title. When it finally got to the point where he could barely see at all in the fourth round, he gave up, which is something that many fighters would have done in the first round as soon as they started experiencing blurred vision.
While the athletic commission’s doctors were concerned enough with Horn to give him a longer-than-normal suspension of eight weeks, it should be seen as good news that they didn’t feel the need to suspend him for a longer period of time, like six months. All the punishment that Horn took around his eyes could have easily led to a broken orbital bone, which Horn is fortunate to have avoided..
-While only brief highlights of his fight against Trevor Prangley were shown on the pay-per-view broadcast, it was clear even in those brief clips that Travis Lutter had several big cuts around both of his eyes, and these cuts caused the athletic commission to medically suspend Lutter for six weeks.
-The other cut-related medical suspensions were given to Mike Van Arsdale and Frank Trigg. Van Arsdale had a nasty cut on the top of his head, while Trigg had a big cut on his forehead, and both fighters were medically suspended for six weeks.