To say injuries are a part of sports would be an understatement. The National Football League lists players' statuses in large part for gambling purposes. Are they in or out?
Hardcore sports fans know more about the knees of Adrian Peterson and Derrick Rose than their own.
In most sports, injuries occur during live game action. This is not the case in the fight game. Boxers, kickboxers, and mixed martial artists are just as likely to suffer a health setback during practice, training, or intense sparring.
These athletes are conditioned to push through pain. If you rest, the other guy is gaining the upper hand. Take a day off to heal and your opponent is getting better.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship began providing fighters with health insurance two years ago. Coincidentally -- or not to conspiracy theorists -- the number of fighters withdrawing from fight cards increased thereafter.
For the first time in the company's history, they were forced to cancel an event last year due to injured fighters.
Local fighters are paid to show, possibly paid to sell tickets, and perhaps paid to win. They are not compensated when an injury derails them during training.
Some will push through the pain and take a fight knowing they should have withdrawn. Others might withdraw from the fight and wait until they are close to 100 percent.
Only one of those scenarios leads to a payday. There are many reasons to compete in combat sports. Getting paid is part of that equation.
So what is the right answer? Pull out of a fight and live to compete another day when closer to full strength? Or battle through injuries because no one is at 100 percent?
At Xtreme Fight Night 4 back in August 2011, Codale Ford submitted Jesse Chaffin in a hard fought championship bout. Rumors swirled after the fight that Chaffin may have suffered from a back ailment.
The bout agreement was signed more than two months in advance. He was injured midway through his training camp and had to make a decision. Chaffin never complained.
"Tough it out and fight or call Dale [Cook] and pull out," Chaffin said. "I sat down with my coaches and discussed that this was too big of an opportunity to pass up. Being my second pro fight and I was given the chance to fight for a belt. Chances like that don't come too often."
Fighters, if at all possible, have to take big fights when offered. Even the UFC has an unwritten rule. Turn down too many fights and you will be looking for another promotion to fight for or another day job.
"When you tell a promoter that you're going to fight, both the promoter and the fighter are counting on you to deliver your word," Chaffin said. "So I think it comes down to having respect for the other fighter. They are training their butt off just like you are so don't disrespect them and pull out of the fight unless it is an injury that puts you on bed rest."
Chaffin was also quick to point out the lame excuse of "fighting hurt." Ford was the better man that day.
Would Chaffin's record look better today if he pulled out of the fight? Would an opportunity to main event an XFN event inside The Joint have come again? How much did his fans play into the decision? How many of his friends and family paid money to see him battle? Would they have understood his decision to withdraw?
These are just a few of the issues facing fighters who suffer injuries leading up to fights. Codale Ford probably would have been given another opponent. The show would have gone on either way.
Jesse Chaffin returns to the cage on April 12 back inside The Joint for Xtreme Fight Night 12. Let's hope his training camp is injury free.
On the other hand, local female badass Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc was scheduled to fight for Invicta FC on April 5. She withdrew from her bout due to a back injury suffered during training.
"My decision was made when the doctor told me that I couldn't train at all for two weeks and then had to rehab for four," said Rivera-Calanoc.
She is a popular female fighter so chances are the all-female promotion will invite her back. In this case maybe the choice was obvious.
Bellator 94 airs live on Spike TV from Tampa, Fla. on March 28. America's number two MMA promotion will televise the highly anticipated finals of both their Light Heavyweight and Lightweight tournaments. Must see TV.
Only three bouts are scheduled to air on Spike TV. Outside of the two tournament finales, only one of nine are guaranteed to be broadcast.
Tulsan Trey Houston (11-1) drops to 170 pounds to make his long-discussed welterweight debut. He gets the coveted broadcast spot against Luis Melo (28-11-3).
This will be one of the most watched non-UFC broadcasts of the year. Houston has competed against much larger foes at 185 pounds in the past. He suffered his first defeat last time out and finally decided to do what every professional fighter does and cut weight to his ideal weight class.
There is a lot of hype surrounding Houston. He wins by impressive fashion rather than grinding decisions. He even picked up a national sponsorship deal with scrapsoldier.com.
An impressive win at his new weight could lead to his involvement in the next Bellator 170-pound tournament. Like several high-level competitors in this area he is taking his training on the road. The Factory, Triton, and ThunderKick Fitness are his primary places to train these days.
More breaking news, big fight announcements, and general discussion in the coming weeks. There is only one place to turn for your Tulsa fight scene coverage.
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