Josh Emmett’s second-round KO at the hands of Jeremy Stephens proved to be a lot more damaging than the Team Alpha Male fighter first anticipated.
Jeremy Stephens landed an illegal knee during the finishing sequence of the UFC on FOX 28 main event. Seconds after connecting with the knee, he dropped two devastating elbows before the fight was stopped.
After being treated in an Orlando hospital immediately following the loss, Emmett thought he had suffered one fracture to his orbital.
But, as Emmett explained, after returning home for a couple of days to Sacramento, his wife thought it best for him to get a second opinion.
“The hospital in Orlando didn’t misdiagnose me, they just didn’t catch a lot of things.” Emmett told Ariel Helwani on a recent episode of The MMA Hour.
“They just said I had a tripod fracture, so I assumed that was it. I went home and I think it was the second day that I was home in Sacramento — I was still on all the pain pills and stuff — and my wife just knew there was something wrong.”
After undergoing another CT scan, several more injuries were discovered, which led to Emmett being prepped for emergency surgery.
“They did another CT scan because the Orlando regional hospital would not send the CT scan to them or to my doctor. They did the scan and they admitted me right away. I needed emergency surgery. They took me in an ambulance to perform another surgery,” he said.
“My lateral orbital was fractured, my orbital wall, my maxillary sinus — that’s like my cheek — it was completely encaved. I had my nasal bone fractured and my zygomatic arch was broken as well, with a few other fractures in the face. It was impinging the main muscle in my eye, which was disturbing the movement of my eye. Also, the nerve in my face was being compressed. So still even now from the left side [of my face] over, it’s still completely numb. I have no feeling in my cheek or upper lip and I had just suffered a severe concussion.”
Emmett had a team of doctors overseeing his treatment. After seeing his x-rays, Emmett claims the team were amazed that he could he could still see and move his eye.
“I had a team of doctors,” he said. “I had a plastic surgeon, I had an ear, nose and throat specialist, and I had an ophthalmologist — and just from the images that they saw, they were really concerned. Even breaking the bones on the orbital floor and the lateral orbital the bone could’ve punctured the eye or it could have been protruding, like popping out of my socket.
“When they saw me and they could see I could move my eye, they were pretty surprised. They kept telling me how lucky I was — that I could see, for one, and that I could control my eye without it popping out.”
After a successful surgery and five days spent in the hospital, Emmett is now waiting for his injuries to heal before he can resume training.
Despite the episode, he says his passion for MMA has not wavered.
“I’m still all on this. I’m too close to where I want to be to give it all up. I have a lot of things I can do. I have a lot of connections in the Sacramento area. I can go and get a good job right now, but this is my passion and I’m going to continue to fight as long as I can. This is definitely the worst injury that I’ve suffered, but there is no quit in me,” Emmett insisted.
Emmett is still adamant that the fight should have been stopped after Stephens landed the illegal knee. As far as he is concerned, if Dan Miragliotta had brought a stop to the fight when the knee connected, he would not be in the position he’s in today.
“[The knee] was illegal. Did it change the outcome, who knows? I feel like if the referee had stopped the fight when the knee was thrown, then I wouldn’t have suffered the injury that I did. That’s the only upsetting thing for me.
“If he had stopped the fight after the knee, of course,” Emmett added. “It was those two elbows after the knee that did the damage and broke my face.”
Emmett underlined that he bears no ill will toward Stephens for what has unfolded and he hopes to be back to light training next month.
“I’m hoping to ease back into things by June. I’ll give it another month or so and then try some kind of movement or test out how I’m feeling when I pick up the intensity a little,” he said. “Obviously, there will be no impact still. I just got off the phone with the surgeon today because they did another CT scan. They said everything is healing well.
“It’s not fully healed yet but they anticipate that I can be back doing some light drills by June, so we’ll give it a shot then.”