Geoff Neal may have lost in a convincing fashion to Stephen Thompson at UFC Vegas 17 on Saturday night, but after suffering the year from hell he’s just counting his blessings that he’s still standing.
“So much adversity leading up to this fight,” Neal wrote on Instagram. “Sepsis, congestive heart failure, three of my corners testing positive for covid, with one of them being the general Sayif Saud, but I still made that walk and fought that fight. Couldn’t see out of my right eye for four rounds and still managed to hang in there with a guy whose been kicking ass since I was like nine years old lol. I don’t know about y’all but I’m proud of me!”
Neal had previously revealed the news about his battle with Sepsis, which occurred in August and led him fearing that he was going to die as he was put on a dialysis machine in hospital and became unresponsive for a 15 minute period.
“For two days, we didn’t know if he was gonna make it,” Neal’s coach Saud had recalled to ESPN several months ago. “He went to the emergency room on Sunday [Aug. 2], he was septic by the time he got there. I spoke to the nurse and she says, ‘We need to take him to ICU right now, he’s in critical condition.’ That’s when my heart really sank.”
Thankfully he survived and was cleared to fight again, but alas his comeback fight didn’t go according to plan. The loss of vision came about due to an accidental clash of heads with Thompson early in the bout that left both men bleeding from cuts to the eyebrow.
Even factoring in the cut and Neal’s cornermen issues it’s debatable whether the result would have have turned out any differently on Saturday night as Thompson put on a striking masterclass, but having been on a five-fight winning streak prior to the bout, it’s clear there’s a lot more still to come from the 30-year-old ‘Handz Of Steel’, and hopefully there will be less obstacles in his way when he attempts to get back to winning ways in 2021.