Aljamain Sterling is the current UFC bantamweight champion. He made headlines when he became the first ever UFC champion by way of disqualification when Petr Yan landed a knee to his head.
This earned him a lot of hate from the MMA community.
Instead of rushing into rematch, he underwent neck surgery. Sterling chose to undergo surgery, knowing that it was a risky decision that could end his career.
Sterling’s neck problem was not something new. He had been suffering from severe neck pain since his days wrestling in college, but he chose to put it off, fearing that surgery would jeopardize his career.
Sterling’s decision to undergo surgery was not without risks. In fact, neck surgery is one of the riskiest surgeries for an athlete, as it can lead to paralysis or even death.
Despite this, Sterling chose to undergo the surgery, knowing that it was a risk he had to take. Sterling’s doubts were reasonable, considering that only a few athletes had undergone the surgery and returned to compete again.
Aside from Sterling, other athletes have undergone this neck surgery and returned to compete again. Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman is one of them. Weidman underwent a disc replacement surgery to fix a herniated disk back in 2016.
The procedure is typically performed on patients who suffer from chronic neck pain due to a degenerated or herniated cervical disc. The surgery aims to restore the normal motion and flexibility of the spine and alleviate the symptoms associated with a damaged or diseased cervical disc.
During the procedure, the surgeon will make an incision in the front of the neck and remove the damaged disc. The artificial disc implant is then inserted into the space left by the removed disc. The implant is designed to mimic the natural movement of a healthy disc and help to maintain the normal curvature of the spine.
Patients who undergo neck disc replacement surgery can expect a shorter recovery time and a lower risk of complications compared to traditional cervical fusion surgery. The artificial disc implant can also help to reduce the risk of adjacent level degeneration, a condition that can occur after cervical fusion surgery.
He admitted that it was a risky decision, but he managed to return to the octagon and compete again. Knowing about their experiences influenced the decision.
Recently an interesting tweet went viral. It perfectly captures the complexity of MMA and the toll it takes on one’s body.
Sterling’s surgery was life-changing for him. He got rid of his neck problems and has since defended his belt three times. Sterling regards the surgery as one of the best decisions he has ever made and wishes he had done it sooner. He now encourages other athletes with similar problems to consider the surgery and not wait until it’s too late.