Few fighters have endeared themselves to us so quickly as Justin Gaethje.
After a pretty successful stint in the World Series of Fighting, he made the jump to the UFC, and needed just one fight to earn a slot as coach for a season of The Ultimate Fighter. Then he scrapped with Eddie Alvarez, fought hard but got clobbered, and fought Dustin Poirier, fought hard and got clobbered.
But we love him for it! Because despite getting clobbered,and reduced to a stumbling fool who wandered around the Octagon like a drunk, he gave his all! Hooray!
However, to watch him give his all in the cage is to slowly get the sinking feeling that we’re seeing someone get their brain cells killed, one knee and one hook at a time.
Gaethje is aware of this. And on today’s “The MMA Hour“, he rationalized the damage he’s taking for our viewing pleasure.
“Three hard fights in a row, all in the last 12 months, people have said to me that it’s something to worry about,” Gaethje said. “There are guys in the UFC now that have been knocked unconscious seven times, five times, completely unconscious. I have never gone completely unconscious yet. I have passed every single one of my impact tests after the fights.
“Of course it’s a concern, but that’s what we do. We fight for a living. If you watched the Edson (Barboza) and Kevin Lee fight, they took punches. Kevin Lee won but he took that huge spinning head kick and that’s not good for your brain, but it is what we do.
“I can’t go to bed every night scared or worried because this is what I signed up for. This is what I get paid to do. I try to fight twice a year so I don’t add up (the damage) too fast.”