Yesterday a report suggested that UFC flyweight star Henry Cejudo had broken his foot while fleeing the California Wine Region on Monday, but it turns out that’s not quite what happened.
Speaking to Yahoo! Sports today, Cejudo revealed what happened, starting with what almost proved to be a deadly decision not to evacuate after a fire alarm went off at 2 a.m in the morning at the hotel he was staying in.
“I looked out the window and everything was OK,” Cejudo said. “I was just thinking that someone had hit the alarm but it didn’t seem like there was anything wrong. I just went back to sleep.”
What the former Olympic wrestling gold medalist didn’t know was that out-of-control fires were rapidly engulfing the region, with the latest reports suggesting that 17 people died as a result, with a further 180 people still missing.
At 4 a.m. Two hours after first hearing the alarm, Cejudo suddenly realized that he was in the midst of a life-or-death situation.
“I saw houses on fire and I looked to my left and half of the hotel I was staying at, my floor, was on fire,” Cejudo recalled. “It was scary. And at that time, the only thing I could do was to grab my slacks. I grabbed my slacks I wore the night before, but I couldn’t see anything to do anything else. I put my slacks on, I opened the window and I jumped off. I leaped off the second story of the hotel.”
“As I jumped off, I landed on a branch that was on fire. Honestly, there was fire everywhere. The fire burned the top of my right foot. I was OK, but I had to put the fire out that was on my right foot. And as I was walking toward the front of the hotel, where the lobby was, it was all going. I saw the hotel on fire, cars on fire, houses around it. It was terrible.”
Earlier that day Cejudo had been attending a celebrity golf tournament for charity along with various other sporting stars, and so he’d brought along his Oylmpic belt, ring and medal, but they were all left behind in his rush to escape
“the medal just was an object, just a medal and that’s it,” Cejudo said. “What really meant something was the blood, the sweat, the tears that went into getting that medal. I’ll always have the memories of that with me.”
“I’m not too worried about that,” he added. “This was a tragedy, just like that terrible thing that happened in Vegas. It’s awful. Losing a medal, man, I am fortunate to be here talking to you and being alive. That’s the important thing.”
“I’m just happy to be alive.”