Brad Pickett Revealed That He Will Be Fighting With ‘A Fractured Spine’ At UFC 204

The list of insane injuries that MMA fighters have cited going into a fight is a long and at times hilarious one; who could forget when Tito Ortiz listed a “cracked skull” among other maladies as an excuse for his loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 106? As it turns out, beating the absolute hell out of yourself for two months straight in preparation for a fight can often have some unfavorable side effects on the human body, side effects that are often far more serious than those sustained in the actual fight itself.

Take UFC bantamweight Brad Pickett, for instance. A 36-fight and five-year-plus UFC veteran who has tangled with the likes of Renan Barao, Michael McDonald, and Thomas Almeida (see above), “One Punch” Pickett is about as gritty and battle-tested a fighter as you will ever come across. Scheduled to square off with Iuri Alcantara at UFC 204 in October, Pickett recently revealed on his One Punch Podcast that he has been battling one particularly nasty injury since pretty much the day he first arrived in the UFC: a fractured goddamn spine.

“I say it’s a new injury but it’s not. It sounds really bad but I fractured my spine,” Pickett said. “Normally you’d assume that I’d be bedridden and paralyzed, which obviously can happen [but it wasn’t that serious].”

Not that serious?! Is Pickett the living incarnation of the “This is Fine” meme, and if so, how in the hell did he do this to himself in the first place?

The injury occurred when I was first meant to be making my UFC debut against Miguel Torres and I was training and I hurt my lower back wrestling. It was so bad, I ruptured my L5-S1 disc and I had to pull out of that fight. Demetrious Johnson stepped in, beat him and went on to get a title shot against Dominick Cruz.

Every now and again it flairs up and I get some lower back pain, so I have to ease off my training. What I do normally do is take a rest for a few days, and normally it settles down and I can train again, but this time it just wasn’t going away so I went and saw a back specialist in America who did X-rays and an MRI and stuff. He said because I have nothing between my L5 and S1 discs, it’s like vertebrate going on vertebrate, and over time I’d irritated it and got a small fracture in my spine.

Don’t get me wrong you don’t want to train with a serious injury and make it worse but sometimes you aren’t always going to feel 100% when you are training. This sport is the toughest sport in the world.

Call me crazy, but I think there’s a yuuuuge line between the “no fighter competes at 100 percent” standby and an injury that could leave you paralyzed were you to be slammed, dropped, or submitted by any of the athletes competing in your incredibly dangerous combat sport. Pickett makes just $30,000 in show money according to MMA-Manifesto, and at a certain point you just have to ask yourself if that measly pay is worth being potentially unable to move your legs. Pickett seems to believe that it is, and for his sake I hope he’s right.

In either case, I think Alcantara and Pickett should come to a gentleman’s agreement that Twister submissions are off the table. Dude’s got kids, probably.