As soon as was word surfaced that Anthony Pettis was going to fight Benson Henderson after all at UFC 164, due to TJ Grant’s withdrawal because of a concussion, observers had to know it wouldn’t be long before skeptics started calling foul. Of course, it is an interesting turn of events, considering Pettis was campaigning to replace Grant on August 31st, before it was widely reported he’d be unable to fight regardless, because of a knee injury (that had pulled him from an August 3rd bout with featherweight champ Jose Aldo). While Grant has certainly been impressive as of late, just ask Gray Maynard and Matt Wiman, a rematch between Pettis and Benson Henderson is sure to be a massive fight.
Following the announcement that Grant was no longer able to fight, however, the well rounded fighter tweeted to “conspiracy theorists” that the UFC “did not and could not pay me any amount of money to step aside.” In a follow up interview with MMA Junkie.com, Grant not only blasted people who are claiming something sketchy has gone down, but he’s also detailed how he got the concussion. Here is some of what Grant had to say:
“Conspiracy theorists are idiots and douchebaggs. I don’t even know why I addressed it, to tell you the truth. You see people writing these things, and for people to think that I would do that for what? A couple dollars? The potential money that comes in from winning a world title, that was my 100 percent focus. That’s why had it been any other fight, everyone would have known about this a couple of weeks ago. But you obviously want to hold off for a title fight.”
“I was doing jiu-jitsu in a gi, and I was on top, trying to pass the guard,” Grant explained. “My partner kind of went inverted and went to roll over. When he came back, his heel hit me in the head. It was just a good, clean shot in the head. I was kind of impressed that it didn’t f—ing knock me out. It was a really hard hit, and there were actually two impacts on the same roll. I don’t know which one did it.”
Grant also added that he’s never felt “anything close” to a concussion in the past, and noted that perhaps the fact Maynard tagged him a couple of times at UFC 160, may have contributed to the symptoms he’s having now (he noted just playing with his kid would give him a headache). The 29 year-old apparently hasn’t trained now for a month because of the head injury. Grant also conceded that if it had been an issue with his knee, he may have considered still fighting, but that “I’m not messing with my brain.”
With the growing amount of medical evidence documenting the possible, debilitating effects of serious concussions, one can’t fault Grant for his decision. Of course, none of what Grant has said will likely quiet conspiracy theorists, who are certain this was all a scheme to lock up Henderson-Pettis II.