ByAljamain "Funk Master" Sterling, writer at
The official Creators profile for Aljamain Sterling! UFC 135lb. Pro 12-1. You become your thoughts over time.
Aljamain "Funk Master" Sterling

So, I guess it’s time to come clean with you guys. Something happened to me during my first sparring session back from my fight with Caraway — I tore my bicep. The reason I didn’t say anything was because we weren’t sure if it was a full tear, since I still had some range of motion. Alas, it was.

Before I get to the surgery I just had, let me go back and revisit the day I was injured. I was sparring with one of my teammates, James Jenkins. We were in a clinch position, and somehow, I threw an overhand right as soon as we broke out of the Thai … this was like my first sparring session back since my fight. It was on June 25 — it’s funny how that date sticks out to me. Anyway, I land the overhand right, and it was sort of flush, but it landed in such a way that it hyperextended my elbow.

I heard this pop, and I stopped to look down at my arm and immediately took a knee. I just felt this instant pain radiating through my arm. I knew right then something was wrong. Really wrong. I thought to myself, “What the hell was that?”

I hoped that I’d just pulled something. I iced it immediately and took a bunch of Advil to reduce the swelling. I did everything I possibly could, thinking that maybe it wasn’t that bad.

The next few days told a different tale, though. I could barely use it. I had hoped it was just a partial tear, that I could just rest it up and do some rehab and have it be good as new in four to six weeks, but after a visit to the doctor and an MRI (with two doctors confirming the results), it was revealed that I did have a complete tear in my bicep. That damned MRI, like some evil fortune-teller, said surgery was in my immediate future.

From there, I had to decide whether I wanted to get surgery in New York or in Las Vegas. There was a four-week waiting period to get the repair in N.Y., which the doctors warned me against, because they would have had to more extensive work, the longer I waited. I made the call to get the surgery done in Vegas two-and-a-half weeks later.

I went out to Vegas for Fight Week with my surgery on the books for the following Tuesday (July 12). The procedure went smoothly, and involved attaching the distal bicep tendon with a plastic screw. There are two heads on the bicep that attach to the shoulder, a short head and a long head. The long head was the one that popped, the one on the lateral side.

When the tear initially happened, it didn’t coil up all the way, so when they did the surgery, the doctor was able to find it very easily. As soon as he cut me open, he was able to see where the tendon was. He then attached it to the radial tuberosity.

He explained to me that he drilled two holes in my radius so that he could insert the tendon back in with a plastic screw so that he could screw it into the bone. He drilled a big hole that he passed the tendon through, and there was a smaller hole underneath to ensure that the screw stayed put. It also allows a bit of space for new bone mass to form and grow over that bicep tendon.

That screw is now a lifelong part of me. I sort of feel like I’m on my way to being bionic. When you combine it with my futuristic brace, I’m just a few steps away from being a cyborg.

I saw my doctor again on Wednesday to cut open my cast and be put in the brace. I flew back to N.Y. one day after surgery, which was the worse decision to possibly make. Of course, turbulence would find my plane and decide to get well acquainted with me for the duration of the flight.

Now the countdown to recovery begins. I was talking to my doc about UFC New York, and he thinks there may still be a chance for me to be able to fight on that card. He asked how long my fight camps were, and said that if I could do a six-week camp, I would probably be just fine.

For me, four to six weeks is an ideal camp, because I never get out of shape between camps. My only concern with this is whether I’ll be able to get the right sparring in before I just hop into a fight. I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing by myself, so I have to make this decision with my team. We have to make sure we’re taking the correct precautions so we don’t end up with back-to-back losses. I never plan on losing, but we all know in MMA some crazy ish happens to remind us we are all mortal.

There is a chance for UFC New York, it’s just not a decision we’ve made at this point. Right now, the best news I can give is that the future is not yet determined. We’ll just have to wait and see.


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