One of the most shocking losses from UFC on Fox 18 was Sage Northcutt's. The 19 year old phenom didn't look like himself in his first professional fighting loss, and now we might have a legitimate reason for that.
On Saturday night in Newark, Northcutt was tapped to an arm-triangle choke at the hands of Bryan Barberena. It would later be revealed Monday on The MMA Hour that he was forced to overcome a sudden bout with strep throat late during fight week.
"Two days before my fight, I had a real bad relapse of the strep throat and I had to go to the emergency ready clinic. The UFC had to take me, then [a doctor] with the UFC had to write a prescription for more antibiotics, stuff like that. So I really couldn't explain how I felt out there. I felt really horrible."
"I've never felt like that ever before. Not just the breathing. It felt like I couldn't concentrate. I wasn't my normal self. I was having a real hard time hearing. Like, you can imagine if you fly on an airplane and your ears get stuffed up where they have to pop? It felt like that but times two or three, where I couldn't even hear my coaches, what they were saying. Even face-to-face, I couldn't hear anything.
"Coming up in the week for the UFC, I always try to keep a smile on my face and act like there's nothing going on, so that way no one would know that I was even sick or anything like that. The UFC knew I was sick because I had to go to the emergency clinic. But really, I was just laying down in bed and sleeping the whole time coming into the event, besides going out and doing the media that I got do to and had to do for the UFC."
While there might be some naysayers and critics who consider these comments as some sort of excuse, I'm not in that camp. He simply didn't fight like he was capable of fighting on Saturday...
"It wasn't the fact that I was panicking. I felt very calm. The thing was, having a hard time breathing and having a mouthpiece in ... when he was on top of me, having his shoulder, I guess, in my throat for that -- I know it wasn't like a traditional head and arm choke from side control where you get to apply the same kind of pressure, but just being able to have your jaw shut and then trying to breathe through your nose for this time during the fight, I was so congested, to tell you the truth, that I couldn't even breathe, much less stand up really.
That's why I wasn't able to move the same, wasn't able to kick the same. What I wanted to do and what I thought in my head about doing out there, I wasn't able to actually act it out and do it because my body wasn't able to keep up. It was like breathing through a straw. That's what it really felt like. So down there in that position, even though it may not have been the best locked in hold, I was having such a hard time breathing that it was just as tight as what it might have been if I was in that kind of position if I wasn't sick, if that makes sense."
Even though he was clearly very sick, backing out of the fight never crossed his mind...
"With the UFC, having a fight like that and having to reschedule a last minute thing, moving up a weight class, you're there to fight. So, that's my job. You don't want to pull out of the fight when you have so many people and fans and friends, everybody, and especially the UFC being my job, to be able to go out there and fight for them, you don't want to pull out and have that ruin the outcome of the event for the amount of people that came to support you and watch you and everything. That wouldn't have been good, and obviously you never want to pull out of that. At least I wouldn't. So, going out there and fighting, I thought I could do it.
I felt like I let everybody down and let the UFC down. I let myself down."
What do you think?