Admittedly, UFC 173 was not billed as a blockbuster event. Most people dismissed the headlining fight between bantamweights Renan Barao and T.J. Dillashaw, seeing Barao as the much more talented fighter, having won his last 22 fights and going into the contest with a 34-fight unbeaten streak.
Fortunately for the UFC and Dana White, UFC 173 would go down as one of the most entertaining events in quite some time, with Barao losing handedly to Dillashaw in a stunning upset and another bout giving spectators that gut-wrenching, nauseating feeling of witnessing a broken limb.
Jamie Varner, a 29-year-old American who had lost three of his last four bouts coming into UFC 173, had no expectations of stealing the limelight. While he most certainly felt he had something to prove to continue in his second stint in the UFC, Varner did not realize the pain he would have to endure in order to assure himself of more fights in the future.
It became quite apparent early in the first round of Varner's fight against James Krause that something was wrong with his left leg. Despite the injury, however, Varner continued to fight.
Unfortunately for Varner, he did not receive much sympathy after he informed the doctors and referee that he could not continue the fight after the first round. During his days with the World Extreme Cagefighting, Varner developed a reputation of looking for ways to get out of fights instead of finishing them, something he continued to receive flak from following his bout against Krause.
During a post-fight examination, though, it was discovered that Varner did in fact receive quite an injury to his ankle during the fight:
Two fractured bones and torn ligaments! I have to see a specialist next week. Thanks for the support!
— Jamie Varner (@jamievarner) May 25, 2014
An injury which was perhaps exacerbated by the ringside doctor:
— John Pollock (@iamjohnpollock) May 25, 2014
While Varner did not win the fight, his grit and resiliency did not go unnoticed by UFC President Dana White, who had several glowing comments for Varner following his loss.
"Usually they'll quit, guys will tap out and say ‘ahhh, I broke my ankle. There was no quit in that kid. That's one of those situations where, he kept going. That's a tough one," stated White.
Jamie's leg is broken. Such a Bad Ass!!!!
— Dana White (@danawhite) May 25, 2014
Despite certifying Varner as a "bad ass" and commending his courage inside the octagon, White did express common sense in the post-fight interviews: "If that was my guy, I would have thrown the towel in, in a second."
Despite now having lost four of his last five contests, Varner hopes his toughness inside the ring will lead to another chance to prove his worth in the UFC in the near future.
Image via YouTube