Big Nog reveals lifelong eye injury
UFC Hall of Famer Rodrigo ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira, known to many of his US-based fans as ‘Big Nog’, has career wins over Josh Barnett, Mark Coleman, Randy Couture, Dan Henderson, Ricco Rodriguez, Semmy Schilt, Tim Sylvia, and Fabricio Werdum among many others. The UFC brand ambassador spoke recently with the about in conjunction with the release on Brazilian television of a documentary on his extraordinary career.
It’s well known that as a child he was run over by a truck and spent a year in the hospital. However, the fighter shielded from the public that at age four he was struck in the eye with scissors, and the eye never fully recovered.
“I had six surgeries when I was a kid, two when I was teenager, and two recent ones,” said Nogueira to Guilherme Cruz for MMA Fighting. “I implanted an intraocular contact lens, and if you poke me in the eye really hard it moves. Imagine how many punches I took… I had to put it back in place all the time.”
“It was a problem in some fights. This fight with Cro Cop I couldn’t see anything with my right eye.”
Nogueira said he once had surgery just two months before a fight.
“It was two fights: the fight itself, and the fight to be able to see,” he said, laughing. “That’s one of the reasons why I stopped fighting. My last fight, with Struve, he poked me in the eye several times. If you watch the fight, I’m trying to secure a single leg and he putting his fingers in my face, and that disturbed me a lot. That’s one of the reasons why I stopped fighting because it hurt a lot.”
Everyone fights hurt, but fighting Big Nog’s medical battle was next level, and furthers appreciation for one of the sports greatest careers.