TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena has finally broken her silence and offered her side of the story regarding a controversial training room incident that left her with a torn ACL, MCL and LCL and meniscus earlier this year and potentially facing years of rehabilitation.
An irate Dana White first broke the story on Twitter back in January when he claimed that Pena had just suffered the “worst injury ever” after being “attacked” by a male member of the “Sik-Jitsu” fight camp.
In the following days a number of other fighters from the gym sought to downplay that initial version of events, while later the other person involved in the incident, Josh Gow, also stated that it was just a “freak accident” that occurred during a regular training session.
Pena chose to stay silent on the issue and, despite White urging her to leave the gym, she remained with them which led to a general belief that perhaps the original story had been blown out of proportion.
However, in a new interview on the Jason Ellis show (transcribed by MMAMania), Pena stuck to her guns that there was more to it than others were suggesting.
“I don’t think I accidentally explained it incorrectly to [Dana White],” Pena said. “I think I explained it 110 percent exactly how the story went…. What happened was, I wasn’t even wearing an Ultimate Fighter shirt … because the kid told me he thought it was an Ultimate Fighter rash guard. But, here’s the thing, it’s a gray rash guard, okay? It had a little UFC emblem on it. I was wearing that, I was late. So, when I got there, he was like ‘hurry up, let’s go.’ So, I get on the mat, I hit the clock, and he says, ‘Oh, you’re wearing your Ultimate Fighter rash guard. I was like, what’s that supposed to mean? ‘That you’re really tough, I’m really scared.’ I’m like, whatever, and we slapped hands, and a minute later, my knee was tore out.”
Pena then went into greater detail about how the injury happened.
“Normally, in the gym, when there’s tons of people we start on our knees, you know there’s not enough room. But, in this instance, it was just me and him on the mat. No one was there, and we slapped hands, and we started going, but right when we started going, it was like ‘Urghh!’ fighting for your life, just cock strong, you know, both of us, and I was like, ‘you’re not taking me down, bro.’ And he wasn’t, so, he was trying to take me down as much as he could. So, I had my shoulder blades up against the back wall, and he’s trying to rear-naked choke me from the side of my body. It’s not even close, and it pissed me off, and I’m like, be technical. Don’t try to be cock strong, you know? I was turning into him, and he was trying to drag me to the ground and rear-naked choke me at the same time, just trying to use all of his weight to try to drop me to the ground. So, when I turned into it, it was just the amount of force — it just blew.”
For clarity here’s Josh Gow’s version of the same incident, taken from an intervie with MMASucka.com back in February.
“Julianna text me and asked me if I was at the gym and I told her ‘yeah.’ Then she came in, got ready to go and I asked her if she was ready — we just started rolling and it was our first round. We were about two minutes in to it, it was just submission wrestling, grappling, rolling or whatever you want to call it and I took back position off the wall — as we were falling away from the wall, with my hooks in she was supporting my weight as I was going for a RNC, her knee twisted in a weird way and we are where we are at today. It was all really terrible.”
Unlike Pena, Gow claimed that he wasn’t going all out during the training session.
“It was slow paced, it was the first round and it was a freak accident, that’s all it was. There’s really nobody that can explain it, it was just a freak accident at the gym.”
So, there you have it. Since only Pena and Gow appear to have been in the gym at the time they hold the only opinions worth hearing on the matter, and from this you’ll have to judge for yourselves who to believe.