Coach: No 'horseplay or assault' in Pena's injury


Last week a report surfaced that Juliana Pena had suffered a horrific injury in training and that it may have been related to a training partner with less than honorable attentions or goofing around. It actually prompted UFC President to Dana White to suggest that Pena even leave her gym, but head coach Rick Little denied those allegations today, stating the injury occurred during regular training:

Julianna is the heart and soul of our team and absolutely nothing was more devastating than carrying her to my car last week.

Years ago, the girl got hit by a drunk driver walking on the sidewalk and broke bones in her face and got up and called me. She got her arm broken in a fight and finished the round fighting back with one arm and begged me not to stop the fight on the stool. But seeing her laying on the mat last week and not getting up, I knew it was serious. She always gets up. Julianna even called Dana on the way to the hospital to say she might be out, but I sent a tweet from the hospital saying she was out even before the results because I was scared if she only had an ACL tear she was gonna still fight no matter what. like shes done before. She is the toughest person I’ve ever met.

The accident was plain and simple. It was a training accident that happened with her normal 145lb training partner for years. There wasn’t any horseplay or assault. I guarantee the guy would be in the same condition as her if there was.

The problem I have with all this is that my gym and her training partner got put on blast with no facts. Female athletes’ knees are very prone to injury. I have two professionals in my gym, Alyse Honnold and Elizabeth Phillips, both have had knee surgeries BEFORE they even joined my gym. Mike Chiesa needed knee surgery after his brutal 5 fights on TUF and Julianna’s knee blew up after her Shayna (Baszler) fight but she kept going. Most of the girls on TUF were injured or limped through and Julianna barely made it to the finale herself. Seeing Cat (Zingano) go down with a knee injury and Kelvin’s knee blow after the rigors of TUF, I feel for all of them because people don’t know the pressure there is to stay winning and keep Dana and the fans happy.

It is so difficult to keep a young, hungry, and driven athlete like Julianna from injuries. Especially having four fights in a row and right back to camp for another. She has been in camp since March 1 before TUF. No girl has had a schedule like that ever in any combat sport. Never did her training partners or workouts ever change. But anytime an injury happens in your gym its terrible and I’m 100% to blame.

My pros are hardworking blue collar guys and girls. Our team spark, centerpiece, and someone I love just went down and we are all so devastated beyond words. Looking over and not seeing Julianna on her spot on the mat that she’s always at for the last five years is something I can’t accept.

In hindsight we should’ve never taken the fight and let Julianna rest, but it feels like we aren’t a big enough gym to say no. I’ve watched (Sam) Sicilia throw punches with a broken hand, Chiesa fight three weeks after surgery, and I just can’t let this happen anymore. This sport has taken the life out of me.

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Recent Comments »

BernardHopkins site profile image  

2/4/14 11:08 AM by BernardHopkins

why is everyone other than her saying danas comments were lies? her knee is torn up but her fingers still work, so im sure she could sent out a simple tweet these fighters are a bunch of scared wimps mike tyson would have publicly checked don king if he made up a lie about him mayweather would if oscar or anyone else made something up manny pac would everyone other than a ufc fighter would  

RyannVonDoom site profile image  

2/4/14 10:30 AM by RyannVonDoom

Bingo. But i'm an asshole for stating this soon as the story initially broke.

CindyO site profile image  

2/4/14 6:42 AM by CindyO

Great point. Where is she that she seems to be missing the shit storm and how come she hasn't set the record straight??? Maybe what the girls on TUF said about her being two-faced and full of drama is true.   Cindy

time traveling 12er site profile image  

2/4/14 4:28 AM by time traveling 12er

I think this is probably as close to the truth as we'll ever get as it covers what both sides are saying.  No one really contradicts any of the events, really the only differences are the opinion on why those things happened.  Julianna, at least right after it happened, felt like the injury was malicious and had to do with jealousy about her time on tuf.  The Coach thinks it happened because she was too agressive, has girl knees, didn't stretch, was training too much, and didn't wait for him to oversee the sparring.  Dana White thinks it happened because the gym sucks.  The UG thinks it happened because Dana invented the whole thing because he's an asshole and most likely he never even ever talked to Julianna or knows who she is.

SonOfThePeepHole site profile image  

2/3/14 11:39 PM by SonOfThePeepHole

Dana White is a pathological egotistical fucking liar. Full stopI'm sick of this fucking guy

The Real Asian Cowboy site profile image  

2/3/14 11:37 PM by The Real Asian Cowboy

This whole thing is getting really shady.First, the trainers story is heart felt, but doesn't explain how she got hurt. Would help to be a little more descriptive, rather than "it was a training injury"Second, Dana wouldn't have flown off the handle like that if he didn't have some story to go off of. Still, seemed a bit much with the harassment statement.Third, why hasn't Pena said anything yet? Seems like this could all stop if she put out a statement clarifying the story.

The Sultan site profile image  

2/3/14 11:36 PM by The Sultan

No matter how you look at it, this gym looks bad. For one, every single one of your fighters is training with some form of serious injury and they are continually getting injured worse. This isnt "cool" or "tough" or "all heart"....its just silly and it shows a lack of training knowledge. Every trainer or fighter that really knows what they are doing, understands how important rest is. You can take a break and be out of the gym for a week or blow out your knee and be out for a year. In my gym, serious injuries are treated with the utmost care. It is emphasized to take care of your body. The head trainer doesnt even want to see you on the mats if you have a serious injury. If you are close to being over trained, the coaches tell you to rest and do drills on the bag until you are well rested. They call you during fight week to make sure you are feeling well, if you are on weight, set up massages, etc. Very well taken care of. Guys who have fights get hooked up with massages to make sure you are good to go. This nonsense of training with broken hands and torn up knees makes the gym look inadequate. Then you have the other side of it thats still a very shaky story.

Fudge Cake site profile image  

2/3/14 11:30 PM by Fudge Cake

Maybe there was a tiny bit jealousy/envy in her 135 training partner and he did make some comment about her recent fame that Dana mentioned. Then maybe she talked smack back and made him more jealous. Then there was some unplanned ego-influenced rough-housing and the injury happened in the heat of the moment.

Stephen Holder site profile image  

2/3/14 11:18 PM by Stephen Holder

Let's assume Pena was emotional, flipped the fuck out n called Dana hysterical and threw her teammate (who Mike Chiesa says was close enough with Juliana that she held his baby) under the bus. Dana goes and publically shits on her gym like an idiot whose never been around an emotional woman before. If she comes out now and says 'I overreacted and take full responsibility' Dana still looks like an assclown and her career is probably jeapordized when she heals cuz Dana will hold a grudge like a child and blackball her. Her being quiet is all about her career. You don't go kick it with people who say you weren't attacked days aftet you were attacked like shits all love. She fucked up and isn't owning up to it. Its shitty but for her career I can't say I blame her at this point.

Renzo's Elbow site profile image  

2/3/14 9:42 PM by Renzo's Elbow

She's well enough to revisit the gym but not make a full statement and there's no word from the guy who did it. Also there is no tweet or whatever of her hugging the guy who did it to show no hart feelings so something is still not right.