Coach details why he let PVZ fight with a broken arm

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

UFC flyweight Paige VanZant has received criticism in the past for being more of a pretty face than a tough fighter. She put that judgment to sleep on Sunday at UFC Fight Night 124, fight for the better part of the three rounder with a very broken arm.

It happened when PVZ threw a risky spinning hammerfist and her forearm connected with opponent Jessica-Rose Clark head, breaking the ulna in half.

Her coach, UFC vet and 3rd degree BJJ black belt Fabiano Scherner received some criticism for letting the fight go on. In an interview with Guilherme Cruz for MMA Fighting, the highly respected coach explained why.

“She wasn’t feeling any pain, so I thought it could be a fissure, that sometimes hurts as much as a fracture,” she said. “She said she fractured it in the first round, but she didn’t remember that the spinning back fist was in the second round.”

“Everything that happened in the second round led me to believe that it wasn’t a serious injury because the way she continued fighting, you couldn’t notice it. I went back to the corner and asked the other coaches if they thought it was really broken, and they couldn’t give me a concrete answer. I kept telling her to hit with the right hand, and when I saw that she wasn’t throwing punches, I knew it was more serious than I thought.

“It made sense later why she wasn’t defending the triangle attempt the way we trained.”

“She wasn’t using her right hand, but I was looking at her face and she didn’t appear to be in pain or anything like that, so I thought it was serious but that she could continue.  I didn’t think about throwing in the towel. We spoke about it after the fight and I saw the X-ray, I apologized to her for making that call, and she said, ‘It was the right call because I wanted to go back and continue fighting. I would be disappointed if you had stopped the fight.’ I think it was the right call because she really wanted to go back.”

”I didn’t ask her if she wanted to continue or not because she would lose confidence in the fight. I want to make clear that it was my decision to let the fight continue, and I would take all the responsibility if something worse had happened.”

“If someone doubted why she was in the UFC, it’s answered now. She’s there to fight. … I’ve seen broken noses, broken hands, broken wrists, but a broken arm like that, I think she’s the first. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t see anyone else fighting the way she fought with that injury.”