Watch above: When your job involves getting punched in the face, it’s only a matter of time before you get hurt. Global’s Jack Haskins reports on a Saskatoon-born UFC fighter’s serious injury that happened outside the octagon.
SASKATOON – Mitch “Danger Zone” Clarke, 29, has 14 professional fights under his belt in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) league. The Saskatoon product has sustained multiple injuries but his most recent one didn’t happen in the octagon.
“It’s mixed of emotions. I’m really happy Saskatchewan gets their own event and I would like to fight in it. But, it was not meant to be,” said Clarke about UFC Fight Night Saskatoon that took place Sunday.
“A weird set of freak sequences that just happened and led to this weird injury that almost no one’s ever heard of and I’m not fighting on this card.”
The injury took place back in June when Clarke was receiving intramuscular stimulation. Clarke says an acupuncture needle broke off in his arm and it was a manufacturing defect.
“I heard it happen. They were turning the needle, I could hear the handle break and then I hear an ‘uh-oh’ and whenever you hear a health care professional say ‘uh-oh’ it usually kind of makes you feel a little bit scared,” said Clarke.
He underwent surgery to remove the needle but suffered severe nerve damage and now experiences numbness in his arm. He says he was fearful that the incident would keep him from fighting again.
“You have a job that is so dependent on your body that it sinks in a little bit harder when you might have something terrible happen to your body. So, obviously it’s scary but at the same time it’s about staying positive,” said Clarke.
This past weekend was difficult for Clarke. His injury robbed him of the chance to fight in his hometown in front of 7,202 Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) enthusiasts for the first time in his UFC career.
He was still part of the action; signing autographs at Cosmo Industries Friday and at the “UFC Fan Experience” outside of SaskTel Centre before the event Sunday.
Despite the disappointment, Clarke remains positive. He is determined to keep training and continue rehabilitation in order to be able to step back inside the octagon.
“I’m not going to let that last fight define my career. It’s a personal thing more than anything … I’ll be there, as soon as I’m healthy I’ll be there,” said Clarke.
His says his recovery is day-to-day but is planning to take part in a submission-only event in Nova Scotia next month to test out his hand and see if he can continue doing the sport that he loves. Clarke also hopes he’s ready to rumble if another opportunity to fight in the province arises.
Jack Haskins contributed to this story