A few days before his previous fight, Thiago Alves was pulled from the card, when a routine CAT scan showed a brain irregularity. This would be scary for anyone, but for a fighter, it could also be career ending.
“When my manager called me on Wednesday he told me I was not going to fight, I got really frustrated and upset,” Alves told MMAWeekly Radio recently. “When I heard the next day that it could be career ending, I was just going nuts for about two days. I was really, really scared about not fighting again. I would say it was the longest week of my life.”
Luckily for Alves, another test proved that the brain problem would not be career ending as was thought before. But he would be removed the New Jersey fight, and would have to undergo surgery. He explained the surgery and how doctors fixed it;
“You’ve got a vein, you’ve got an artery. A vein is low pressure; an artery is the high pressure. Once they touch inside your brain they cause bleeding, and they saw a vein and an artery were pretty close from each other, and they didn’t know if it was something that I was born with, or if it was something that happened over the years,” said Alves.
“So what they do with the angiogram is they make a small incision on my groin, and they put a catheter inside. They shoot dye all the way into my brain and with the dye they can see clearly what it is, if it’s something that needs to get fixed.”
The dye showed a problem with the vein and artery, but the doctors were able to fix the issue soon after.
“They put superglue between the vein and the artery. That’s what the doctors told me ‘just tell everybody you’ve got superglue in your brain right now, and you’ll be alright.’ So that’s what I’m going to tell everybody,” said Alves. “That was the procedure pretty much.”
Alves was released two days after surgery and has already begun to work out again, with some weightlifting and light cardio. But doctors advised Thiago to avoid any contact with his head for at least two weeks after surgery. Coaches from American Top Team have told all teammates to keep him out of sparring no matter what. After the two weeks, Alves should be able to go back to his regular training routine.
Alves said that he feels very blessed throughout this whole ordeal. Both Dana White and the Ferttitas checked on him many times to make sure he was doing ok.
“It makes you feel kind of special in a way,” Alves said about the UFC staff. “They were great, I couldn’t do it without them.”
After all that, Thiago is even more ready to get back into the cage. His hunger for the fight will be quenched in June, with his rematch against Jon Fitch.
“It was perfect, it needs to happen,” Alves said about the fight with Fitch. “That fight was supposed to be done in December, and that’s the second time it couldn’t happen, but I’m really happy. I’m sure he wants to fight me, too.”
Alves described how hard it was to watch teammate Ben Saunders take his spot at UFC 111 while he sat on the sidelines wishing it was him out there.
“It was torture,” Alves said. “Especially the way Fitch fought, I trained for that, I was prepared. I was 100-percent prepared for his kind of fight. I wish it was me, but there’s nothing I can do, it is what it is. I’m just going to try to make the best of it.”