Eddie Alvarez Reveals How His Concussion Came About, The Severity, More
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 05.12.2014
All the details on the injury...
Eddie Alvarez spoke with MMAjunkie about the concussion that knocked him out of his fight at Bellator 120. Check out the highlights:
On his recovery: "Since we called the fight off, I've been able to fully rest my head without having to go into the gym."
On how bad it was: "When the injury first happened, I was having trouble just with my daily, regular day. Shaking my head ‘no' really hurt, really put pressure on my head. When I tried to look side to side, it was really putting pressure on my head. Raising my voice too loud really hurt, so I couldn't really yell, and I have three kids – I have to yell a lot. I'm improving every day. When I go to shake my head a little bit, the pressure is a little bit less than when it was when it first happened, so (I'm) just giving my brain time to heal."
On how it came about: "I got a ‘stinger' the week before, and then after the stinger, at a wrestling practice, I shot on my wrestling partner's hip, and he sort of met me with his hip. I remember that being a significant blow, but I still continued practice. And then right after that, I got hit with a heel when I went for a single-leg (takedown). So it was like two hard shots back-to-back in one wrestling round. I just kept going, because I get hit a lot and I feel a lot of hard shots, but it wasn't a big deal. But I guess one got me good enough to where it did a little bit of damage that I really wasn't expecting."
On getting it diagnosed: "I flew to Pittsburgh probably a day after I told my management. I did a series of tests at the clinic. I worked with a vestibular specialist. I did an exertion test, and then I was seen by Dr. [Michael] Collins at the [University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for Sports Medicine], which is one of the best concussion clinics in the country. I was seen by four people, and they were hopeful that I'd be able to get to the fight date when I did my testing. But they also reiterated that the brain heals on its own. There's nothing we can do to speed it up."
On trying to speed up the process: "Basically, I did cardio and I felt really good during my strength and conditioning sessions. The doctor said when I'm able to do those pain-free, then I can move on to doing pads and mitt work. I never really got past the cardio pain-free. It still would bug me when I was slamming medicine balls or doing anything that involved punching. But when I went on to doing pad work, it was almost impossible to get past the punching when I punched. The impact of me punching pads would cause a lot of pressure in my head. I couldn't even think about taking a punch from someone."
On wanting to avoid rushing back: "I have six or seven really good years ahead of me in this game. I don't want to rush one fight and risk not being able to be spectacular in the next six or seven years."
On Bellator's support: "Who I fight for is just a company. I think people put too much weight into that. Bellator has been supportive throughout the entire thing. But this is my career, and my fight, and what I'm doing. The decision doesn't have much to do with Bellator at all."
On an interim title fight taking place: "Not entirely excited that it's an interim title, but business is business, and they've got to do what they've got to do. "Whatever. Good luck to both of them guys. I'll be pulling for Michael Chandler to win. I've never seen a champion not be able to fight one fight, and then they put on an interim title. That's got to be the first time I've ever seen that. A fight's a fight. I don't get why we have to put a belt in there. I think we should get rid of the belts altogether, to be honest with you. But a fight's a fight. For money, for a belt, whatever you've got to do."
On where he goes from here: "We're going to move on. I'm going to get better, and we're going to make this trilogy happen. More than anything, I want to apologize to the fans. It's unfortunate. It's the sh–tiest part of the game. I feel like if I had to apologize to anyone, it would be Mike. This sucks. Nobody wanted to fight this fight more than me. It's really out of my hands, and I wish him luck. He stepped up, and he's fighting Will on short notice. I'll be pulling for him."
On wanting to come back strong: "What do you say? I'm not going to fix something that's not broken. I win quite often, and I train a certain way. It works for me. So I won't be going any less hard than what I do. At the Blackzilians, we go very hard. Our pace is high, and it's very real, the fights that go on within our gym. I don't want that to change. I feel like that's a huge part of our success. If I could change anything, I feel like some protocols may be put in place like they have in the NFL and every other sport. But I don't even know if that's doable, considering this is an individual sport. I don't feel like I did anything I could have avoided, that I was being negligent. I just think it was unfortunate what happened, and it could happen to anyone."