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Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Mixed Martial Arts--- Two More Injuries Still to Come on The Ultimate Fighter?
We're only three episodes into The Ultimate Fighter's second season, but already there have been two fighters who have had to leave the show due to injury, and two more fighters who would have had to leave due to injury if they hadn't lost their respective fights.

With the filming of the second season having been completed a couple months ago, there are at least two more fighters who have publicly revealed themselves as being injured, but it's not known whether their injuries required them to be eliminated from the competition.

The two fighters in question are welterweight Jorge Gurgel and heavyweight Tom Murphy. Gurgel came into the show with an injured knee that needed major surgery, as documented on the show. Gurgel was in attendance at the UFC 54 event on August 20th and could clearly be seen using crutches by anyone in attendance who recognized him, after apparently having surgery on his knee sometime in the past couple of months. (Gurgel could also briefly be seen on-camera during the pay-per-view broadcast in the background using crutches.)

As for Tom Murphy, he disclosed his injury in an interview with the Cooperstown Crier newspaper, which is based in Cooperstown, New York. Murphy told the newspaper, "It was an amazing experience. I wouldn't trade it for anything, but if you asked me, 'Would I do it again?' I would say no. It's no secret, I came back on crutches. I had to have knee surgery. I tore the cartilage in my knee in half."

That was an on-the-record quote that Murphy gave to a newspaper, just as Gurgel could be seen using crutches in plain sight at UFC 54. Neither of these things are being kept under wraps as big secrets, given the public comments and public appearances that revealed them.

These facts would seem to suggest that it's highly unlikely that Gurgel or Murphy will be in the welterweight or heavyweight finals of The Ultimate Fighter 2, which will take place live on Spike TV on Saturday, November 5. At the same time, Gurgel and Murphy's injuries don't necessarily reveal how they were eliminated from the show.

For example, it's possible that Gurgel or Murphy hurt themselves in training during the show and had to leave without losing a fight (which happened to Kerry Schall). It's possible that Gurgel or Murphy had a fight and won, but then had to leave the show due to an injury suffered during the fight (which happened to Josh Burkman). It's possible that Gurgel or Murphy had a fight and lost, and suffered an injury in the process of losing the fight (which happened to Melvin Guillard and Rob MacDonald). All of these scenarios are possible, but what doesn't seem to be much of a possibility, based on the facts that are out there publicly, is that Gurgel or Murphy advanced to the finals.

The only scenario in which Gurgel could have possibly advanced to the finals, while also having surgery on his knee in the months since filming ended, would be if Gurgel made the final two in the 170-pound weight class and then decided to undergo minor surgery on his knee, knowing that he would have a few months to recover before the show actually aired and it would be time for him to fight in the finals. That is the only scenario in which Gurgel could have possibly made the finals and had surgery on his knee, because there is no way he could recover in a few months if the surgery that he had was reconstructive knee surgery to repair a torn ACL.

In the first three episodes of The Ultimate Fighter 2, Kerry Schall had to leave the show due to a torn meniscus in his knee, and was portrayed by the producers and editors of the show in a sympathetic light. On the other hand, Rob MacDonald was portrayed as a whiner, a wimp, and a complainer, despite the fact that he stepped into the Octagon and fought with a torn labrum in his shoulder (which is a major injury). MacDonald put himself at great risk for further injury, and in fact he did worsen his shoulder injury in his loss to Brad Imes. One has to wonder how MacDonald got cleared to fight by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in the first place if they knew that he had a torn labrum in his shoulder.

Through three episodes of the show, the other two injuries were Josh Burkman suffering a fracture in his arm in the process of winning a fight, and Melvin Guillard suffering a broken hand in the process of losing a fight.

One other detail about The Ultimate Fighter 2 that came out through the mainstream media was included as part of the New York Times' prominent article on TUF, which was published on Sunday, August 21st. While not saying who won or lost any specific fight, the Times article did say that welterweights Anthony Torres and Luke Cummo were matched up against each other in the Octagon at some point. The Times article also said that Torres and Cummo's fight went to a one-sided judges' decision.

If the Torres vs. Cummo fight was the first time that each man fought during TUF 2, then the New York Times article did not give away anything. On the other hand, if either Torres or Cummo did fight at least one time on the show before they fought each other, that would mean that the New York Times indirectly gave away the fact that Torres or Cummo won their first fight, because otherwise it would not have been possible for a Torres vs. Cummo match to take place. (Example: If Torres fights "Contestant A" before he fights Cummo, we know that Torres beats "Contestant A," due to the New York Times' disclosure that Torres and Cummo fight at some point.)

As it stands right now through three episodes, there are seven heavyweights and seven welterweights remaining on the show. The seven remaining heavyweights are Brad Imes, Dan Christison, Keith Jardine, Mike Whitehead, Rashad Evans, Seth Petruzelli, and Tom Murphy. The seven remaining welterweights are Anthony Torres, Jason Von Flue, Joe Stevenson, Jorge Gurgel, Luke Cummo, Marcus Davis, and Sammy Morgan.

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