Uriah Hall was scheduled to meet Vitor Belfort in the UFC Fight Night 124 co-main event on Jan. 14 in St. Louis. Instead of facing the Brazilian legend in Belfort’s final fight inside the Octagon, Hall found himself hospitalized and in a dire medical situation.
Hall’s training camp leading up to UFC St. Louis was less than ideal. Dietary changes and over-training took a toll on his body and the sudden and tragic loss of his coach, Robert Follis, had him on the brink of depression. He tried to push through, but went beyond his physical limits.
Hall was actually on weight and headed to the weigh-in, but only made it to the hotel elevator.
“I was on weight actually. I was like 185.7 or something. I just didn’t make it to the scale,” he said during an appearance on the UFC Unfiltered podcast.
During his fight camp, Hall struggled with digesting food and expelling water from his body. He had recently became a pescetarian, which is a vegetarian that still eats seafood. His body didn’t adjust well to the lifestyle change. With his body not responding like it has in the past and the loss of his friend and coach, Hall was admittedly not in a good place mentally.
Instead of pulling out of the fight, Hall pressed on. He finished fight camp and traveled to St. Louis, but things weren’t quite right.
“A couple of days before I flew out to St. Louis, the same thing happened to me again, my body went weird, like I couldn’t digest food again and I was having problems digesting food. You’ve got to intake a lot of water and my body just wasn’t getting rid of it. Of course, I was like screw it. I’m going to do it anyway. I don’t have any sick days. I don’t complain,” he said.
“I was like 208 when I got there. Normally for me, fight week, I’m always like 199 or 198. I was heavy already and then I got up to 215, and I was like, s–t, this water isn’t coming out of my body. What’s going on? I went into overdrive. I’m working twice as hard now. I started cutting weight from 206, and I’ve never cut from 206 before,” Hall explained.
“Within that timeframe, within 24 hours, I must have lost 20-something pounds. I got to 187 and I remember sitting in the tub and saying I’m done. If I go any further than this my body is going to shut down. But as a warrior and that mentality, I was like f— it. I don’t want to pay that fine. I’m going to make weight. I’m disciplined. So I pushed my body to that brink and I made that 185.something. They had to kind of hold on to me and pick me up. I’m walking to the elevator. They’re still holding me. Once I got to the elevator, I couldn’t stand anymore and I just passed out,” added The Ultimate Fighter 17 Tournament Runner-Up.
At that moment, the fight with Belfort was off. Hall’s weight cut had turned into a medical crisis and a dramatic effort to get him the medical attention he needed.
“In that dramatic moment when I passed out, I kept waking up. As much as I was waking up, I was in and out of consciousness. I did know what was happening, but I couldn’t control it. I wake up and I was in the elevator. I woke up and I was on the floor. I think they were trying to revive me or whatever and I was punching. I kept swinging because I couldn’t control my body,” he explained.
“I was just swinging. I was trying to fight out of it. The next thing I know the EMT was there. I was throwing punches at them. People were holding me down. I was asking for water. They put me on a stretcher. I woke up again. They were trying to find a vein. They couldn’t find a vein, so they kept sticking me over and over. I felt pain and I just kept swinging again. They were like, ‘Hold him down. Hold him down.’ I passed out and woke up in the hospital.”
Hall has since recovered and says that he “feels great.” Looking back on the situation, it was scary. It was an experience Hall will never forget.
“Later on, I kind of came to, slowly. I just came back to my senses, but it was one of the most horrific experiences I’ve ever went through.”