TUF 9 winner Wilkes retires fearing paralysis from an old Rugby injury

source: espn.co.uk

The English welterweight James Wilks, who earned a contract with the UFC after beating DaMarques Johnson in the final of 'The Ultimate Fighter: UK vs. USA', has been forced to end his career due to injury. He has not fought for 18 months.

The announcement came via Twitter.

James Wilks UFC ‏ @lightningwilks
A few of you have been asking when my next fight is. Unfortunately, I have had to retire due to injury. Now coaching @lightningmma

Wilks retires with a record of seven wins and four losses in MMA, including one win and two defeats in the UFC. Most recently, he lost to Claude Patrick at UFC 120 in October 2010.

He will now concentrate on working as a coach alongside Mike "Joker" Guymon at Lightning MMA in Laguna Hills, Calif.

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In an interview with MMA Junkie, Wilks expanded on what forced his retirement in an interview with MMJunkie.

About five years after Wilks quit playing rugby as a teenager, a doctor pointed to an X-ray of his neck. Wilks had fractured a vertebra years earlier.

The 34-year-old Wilks decided to call it quits after doctors told Wilks he'd have a "significantly high risk of paralysis" if he continued fighting, he said.

"I must have been from rugby because I got asked when my neck got broken, and I said I'd never broken it, and then they showed me the X-ray," Wilks said.

"I had problems in a couple of the fights that I didn't really talk about. In one of the fights, I got hit, and the whole left side of my body went numb, all the way down to the toes."

"My bones are touching the spinal cord. There should be a gap, so when you get hit, you've got some leeway for it not to cut into the vertebrae. But my vertebrae have grown from the front and back, and they're touching the spinal cord."

"I think if I was single and didn't have a wife and a son to look after, I probably would have risked it. But I thought about it for quite a while and made the decision."

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Recent Comments »

IowaHawkeyes420 site profile image  

6/12/12 4:50 PM by IowaHawkeyes420

 ttt james is good people

Elevatedtestosterone site profile image  

6/4/12 6:53 PM by Elevatedtestosterone

Too many good gyms in an already overly saturated quality area for MMA gyms. not hating on the guy but his gym loses out to other gyms in the surrounding area and breaks even and that's about it. Just a case of a good guy peaking too early and not being able to propel his TUF win into anything more then the reality show win. Sadly in this world it takes more then the show to make it in the UFC. Best of luck to him tho

AristidesBrito site profile image  

6/4/12 3:18 PM by AristidesBrito

Something not a lot of people know, is originally James came over to the US to live and train with Paul Vunak , i'm sure he has a ton of great Vunak stories

iam2ninjafoya site profile image  

6/4/12 3:11 PM by iam2ninjafoya

Yup James is the man

Hong Kong Phooey site profile image  

6/4/12 2:29 PM by Hong Kong Phooey

 i dont think so. He won TUF , got injured after a few wars. His wife is stunning , has a child and a successful gym in OC. Hes winning .

explodingboy site profile image  

6/4/12 2:22 PM by explodingboy

His wars with Frankie Lester were some of the most epic moments in TUF history. I will always remember when he knocked half of Lester's teeth out and he was pulling them out of his mouthpiece. By winning TUF he made UK fans proud for a while and that's all anyone can ask.

Elevatedtestosterone site profile image  

6/4/12 2:13 PM by Elevatedtestosterone

Sadly it was all downhill for him ever since he won the tuf finale. Shame

GriffinQ site profile image  

5/17/12 2:10 AM by GriffinQ

The type of person that would participate in combat sports to begin with.Someone trying to achieve greatness.

Hong Kong Phooey site profile image  

5/17/12 2:06 AM by Hong Kong Phooey


MasterofMartialArts site profile image  

5/15/12 3:01 PM by MasterofMartialArts

What's ridiculous for me is when he says something like, "I have a wife and kids, maybe if i were single i would continue competing." Really? Even if you were at a severely high risk of being paralyzed you would compete, just because you have no wife or kids? Who wants to be paralyzed?