Tim Credeur is thanking his lucky stars.
The TUF seven veteran was coming off a "Fight of the Night" performance against Nate Quarry in 2009 and was set to fight Mike Massenzio just under four months later when he badly damaged his foot in training.
After suffering through months of rehab and finally getting back in fight shape for an event nearly five months later at UFC 113, he had to face the reality of potentially never fighting again after a pre-fight brain scan came back with scary results.
"Crazy" Credeur allowed the fans to enter his inner fight mentality in part one of MMAmania's exclusive interview with him. Today, he shares the scariest moment of his entire life, facing his own mortality.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Can you kind of talk about the scare you had? It had to have been life-altering when you come back and see that you've got a brain anomaly and they have to run more tests.
Tim Credeur: It's a terrifying story. I'm training for Tom Lawlor, I'm training with monsters. Hard sparring three times week. We're killing it. I'm boxing with pro boxers, I'm kickboxing with pro kickboxers. Of course, I'm getting banged around a lot. Why wouldn't I be? It comes across that I need to get a CT scan because it had been a couple years since The Ultimate Fighter and I hadn't had another scan yet so Canada required it. I went in and got a scan. The doctor called me back and I went in to his office and the doctor who ran the scan, did the stuff for me, he's my orthopedic, he's an amazing doctor but he's not a brain surgeon per say. When the scan came back that there was an anomaly, he was the one that told me. I went in to his office and he told me, "Tim, I don't know what this means. You've got to go see a specialist. No doubt about it, you cannot fight. Whether or not you can ever fight again, I have no idea. This could be the beginning of an aneurysm, it could be a tumor. It could be a host of things but it's definitely not normal and it's not supposed to be there. Other than that, we don't have a whole lot of information but there needs to be a lot of time-tests done."
Time tests are where they take a scan and 3-4 months later they take another scan and they measure it microscopically like what's the growth, what's the movement, what's happening with it. That's the only way really to tell what it is or what dangers are involved. I had an academy at the time, I only had maybe 70 students. i'm not making a whole bunch of money, just paying the bills and getting by. I walk out of the doctor's office thinking, "man, what am I gonna do?" Obviously, there are a load of medical costs that are going to be incurred with this. I'm not the brightest guy but I'm smart enough to know that brain scans ain't cheap. They aren't selling those at the clearance rack. I know that much. I'm about to incur some serious costs here. Like I said, nobody was gonna insurance cage fighters. Did I have a mild insurance policy? Yeah I do but it didn't cover no brain scans for cage fighters for sure. It says on my old insurance policy, "no cage fighting matters will be covered."
It was kinda scary walking to my car, what am I gonna tell my wife? Good lord, we just bought a new house and I don't even know what to do. Interestingly enough, she calls my phone......to tell me she's pregnant with our first child. What?!?! Within 15 minutes of hearing I may never fight again I find out I'm having my first baby. That was a tough day you know? I kinda sheltered my problems and worried about my wife and worried about our baby for a week or so and I told her and we decided to hit it head on. We started doing scans and started doing tests to try to figure out what was going on. After about seven months it came back that it was an anomaly that was natural. Sort of like a freckle or a wart, just something in my brain that realistically probably been there since I was born and was of no regard in terms of cagefighting or rupturing or a tumor or nothin' like that. We were lucky. It could have went a whole bunch of ways and none of them are good.
Through that, I was forced to face the reality that fighting was maybe over for me and I need to figure out what I'm going to do. I'm a college graduate, do I shut my gym down and go get a job? I thought about that. I didn't know how I was gonna support my family. I sat down with my wife one day and she said, "you're an amazing instructor. You're an amazing teacher and you need to focus on your passion. You need to focus on building your academy and focus on building your students" and I did. I got into the academy and I put my mind at building fighters and I put my mind at building the kids program and building my jiu-jitsu program and it changed my life. We have 250 students at the academy and I don't even need to fight anymore because our business has done so well. We have a beautiful five month old baby girl. So many things in life, they happen and we're presented with these very difficult, very devastating issues. How you handle it and the people around you, how they help you handle it, it really defines your future. So many people's lives are defined by the difficult times and not the successful times. I had the opportunity to have a support system around me that even though it was a difficult time for us, we came out of it 10 times better than we went into it. I'm just so blessed to have such an amazing wife and an amazing family and amazing students where in one of my darkest hours, we came through that so much better. I'm just lucky and blessed.
So what do you think Maniacs?
Can "Crazy" Tim lock up another win on Saturday night?