Both Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand-Prix finalists Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett had to struggle through adversity to make it to the end of their 25 minute fight last night each man broke a hand in the first round.
The tournament finale had in fact already been delayed due to Cormier breaking his hand during his semi-final KO win over Antonio Silva last year, and it was the same hand that he is believed to have fractured again in the opening round last night.
He did a good job of hiding it, and in fact he reveals he didn’t even tell his corner, but adapted on the fly to a more varied offense to get him through the fight.
“You’re in a fight, you have to use all your weapons,” Cormier said at the post-fight press conference. “That’s why I was kicking, I was punching, I was kneeing him in there. Josh is too good to fight handicapped. I don’t think my coaches picked up on [the injury] because I didn’t tell them. I just kept fighting.”
The last time he broke his hand he let it heal naturally, but given that it’s been damaged again he’s now planning to get surgery on it which will again keep him out of action for some time.
“I think this time I’m going to take a different approach. I think I’m going to have surgery on it and get it fixed, because I don’t want it to be recurring and then end up costing me later and later on down the line.”
Remarkably, his opponent Barnett suffered a similar fate in the fight, also breaking his left hand in the opening round which lead to him being taken straight to the hospital after the event where it was set in a splint.
Barnett also did a good job of disguising the pain he was in, but in hindsight, I noted in my fight report last night that in the later rounds Barnett seemed a little gun-shy, and the injury could explain why that was the case.
Credit to both men for fighting through the pain and we wish them a speedy recovery.