While Rousimar Palhares apparently won’t be returning to the Octagon ever again, as a result of his controversial heel hook at UFC FN 29, it remains to be seen when rugged welterweight Mike Pierce will be able to return. It was obvious that Pierce was in a ton of pain as a result of the nasty and prolonged submission last week, but other than a 180 day medical suspension, his exact status has been unknown.

Well, in an updated report from MMA Junkie.com, the fighter’s trainer Phil Claud has confirmed that Pierce has a severely strained MCL in his left knee.  While no one wants to deal with a severely strained ligament in their knee, the goods news is that the doctor’s believe surgery won’t be needed. Pierce is still waiting for the results of the MRI that was done on his left ankle, however, which was also injured in the October 9th scrap. More will apparently be known about Pierce’s time table for recovery in the coming days.

Recently Pierce described what he felt during the final seconds of the bout, while appearing on the “MMA Hour”, as he continued to tap-out to the fight ending heel hook.

“I felt it pop a couple of times, once in my ankle, and once in my knee, but the MRI is going to be the determining factor,” Pierce described. “I felt it [pop] after the ref was already on top of us and I was tapping the ref. So it was long after the fact.”

Palhares, who was banned for the incident, has since claimed he didn’t intend to hurt Pierce. Hopefully the 33 year-old vet won’t have a long recovery in front of him and can get back to fighting relatively soon. Prior to UFC FN 29, Pierce had won fours straight fights and had recorded stoppage wins in two of them. The vet is 9-4 to date in the UFC.

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