When UFC welterweight contender Dustin Hazelett (12-5 MMA, 5-3 UFC) steps into the cage on Aug. 7 for his bout with Rick Story, "McLovin" will be doing so against his doctor's advice.
But armed with an intense passion for fighting and a lack of a "Plan B," Hazelett says he can't wait to set foot in the octagon.
"There's always concerns," Hazelett recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "Even before I started fighting there were concerns because clearly it's a dangerous sport. It's not tap dancing, but this is what I love to do."
Hazelett suffered a broken orbital bone in his January fight with Paul Daley, and the injury required some extensive recovery time. Hazelett said he adhered to all recommended guidelines and elected to remain patient as it healed.
"They said, 'If you rush back into sparring, and you get hit hard, it will end up fracturing again, and it will be even worse.' I wanted to give it time to make sure that it completely healed so that I wouldn't rush into a fight, get hurt, and I'd be off even longer. I wanted to make sure I was completely 100 percent coming back."
The Nevada State Athletic Commission gave Hazelett the opportunity to return early with a doctor's clearance, but when the 24-year-old visited a professional line up by the UFC, he received some startling advice.
"They sent me to a leading expert in my area, I guess, and he was not too keen on the idea of me coming back early," Hazelett said. "In fact, he refused to let me come back early, and he said, 'If you were my son, I would suggest you never fight again, obviously.'
"I'm really looking forward to coming back and kind of starting over and getting a couple of wins together without any lengthy layoff."