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Morning Report: Dominick Cruz on injury bad luck: ‘It’s just part of my journey and it’s going to be part of my legacy’

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Some people have all the luck, but in Dominick Cruz’s case, it all seems to be bad.

The oft-inured fighter has not competed since losing his bantamweight title to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207 in 2016. He was scheduled to face Jimmie Rivera last December in a de facto No. 1 contender bout but suffered a broken arm and was forced to pull out from the card. That injury developed into a more long-term problem when Cruz opted not to get surgery. When he finally had the surgery and was cleared to fight, Cruz had a fight set with John Lineker for the upcoming UFC 233 card but last week, Cruz was once again forced to withdraw from the fight due to injury. It was just one more in a long line of setbacks for the former champion and one that could keep him sidelined for a long time.

“I’ve done everything very carefully to make sure that I’m ready for this one,” Cruz told Ariel Helwani of ESPN recently. “[I start sparring] and at the very end of my second round, I threw a right hand and as I throw an overhand right I felt . . . a click in my right shoulder and then I felt my fingers go numb. Right away I knew something separated because you’re not supposed to get blood flow and numbness to your fingers unless it’s a detrimental injury. So I stopped right away, got out, and I literally left that practice knowing that I told my shoulder and went straight to an MRI.

“My subscapularis is completely torn off and my supraspinatus is 75 percent torn off. So from what I understand, they have to take the tendon and reattach it with a screw of some sort into the bone to get everything reconnected. . . It’s basically an ACL [tear] of the shoulder.”

Cruz is one of the most snakebitten fighters in MMA history. Despite joining the UFC in 2011 when the WEC was absorbed, Cruz has only fought six times in the organization. After defending his title twice in 2011, Cruz suffered an actual ACL tear in 2012 that had to be operated on twice as his body rejected the first ACL that he was given. In 2014, he was finally set to return from that injury when he tore his groin. Nine months later, Cruz finally came back and obliterated Takeya Mizugaki and was set to challenge for the 135 title he had been stripped of, but then tore his other ACL which kept him out until 2016. He fought three times, reclaiming the title, defending it, and then losing it to Garbrandt. He has not fought since. But despite this nearly unparalleled run of bad luck, Cruz isn’t going to let this beat him.

“Understanding it really serves no purpose because there is no understanding.,” said Cruz. “It just is what it is. To try to understand it will just take you in a loop that will never end. So I choose to look at this as just the way it is and what can I do with that is the question.

“With all that being said, how I feel is sadness. Extreme sadness, to be honest. It hurts. I want to cry. But I also know that this is a long road that I’ve had already. I’ve already been down this, I’ve had these injuries. You can attack whatever you want to this situation but it never defeats me and it never will. It’s just part of my journey and it’s going to be part of my legacy. How many people go through life with problems and have to get back up? Life is no different from fighting and that’s why I love fighting so much. Sport is a metaphor to life. . . You never get to quit in life so if you quit in sports, exactly when you quit in sports is exactly when quit at life.”

As Cruz says, his injury history is now an indelible part of his legacy and, for many, will be the first thing many people think of when his name is mentioned. The other part of that legacy is being arguably the best bantamweight in the history of the sport, and Cruz says the two go hand in hand.

“I’m not the greatest bantamweight of all time despite my injuries,” said Cruz. “I’m the greatest bantamweight of all time because of my injuries.”


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The MMA Hour.

Fight Motion.

The return of Jon Jones.

Al Iaquinta-Kevin Lee.

This the dude Anderson is training with for Izzy.


Anik & Florian. Recapping the UFC’s final UFC on FOX card.

The Co-Main Event. Reviewing Bellator’s double header plus looking ahead to UFC 232.


Kevin Lee can’t be held down.

Get paid.

All the beef.

Tony so antsy.

Call out.

SpaceMac 2019.

Ouch.

Working harder after the loss.


Eric Spicely (10-4) vs. Stephen Regman (9-3); CES 54, Jan. 19.

Tony Gravely (16-5) vs. Kris Moutinho (7-2); CES 54, Jan. 19.

Zabit Magomedsharipov (16-1) vs. Jeremy Stephens (28-15); UFC 235, March 2.


Damn, man. Dominick Cruz has to be the most snakebitten fighter in MMA history. Only person who I can even think of offhand to come close is Ian McCall (or Jon Jones I guess if you want to go there). Hope when he comes back he’s still as good as he ever was.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


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