I don't want to bring up the "R" word, but sooner or later, the curtain is going to fall on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
The longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran -- one of the most beloved fighters in the history of the sport -- went under the knife earlier today (June 14, 2013) to repair a torn medial collateral ligament in his left elbow, suffered during his submission loss to Fabricio Werdum (watch it here) at last weekend's UFC on FUEL TV 10 event in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Globo's Combate reports that Nogueira also had several loose bone fragments removed.
This marks the second arm injury for "Big Nog" in less than two years. The first, of course, was the devastating broken wing he suffered at the hands of Frank Mir at UFC 140 in Toronto. Injuries are part of the game, no question, but Nogueira built a career on his legendary durability.
That was then. This is now.
Since transitioning to the ranks of UFC, he has managed to stay above .500 at 5-4, but more importantly, has been knocked out twice and submitted twice. "Minotauro" -- who once laughed off a "Cro Cop" head kick as well as a Bob Sapp powerbomb -- had never been finished in 35 professional fights.
But he's now 37 and has a lot of miles on those tires.
The good news is, his loss to "Vai Cavalo" did not re-aggravate the arm he injured against Mir, one that needed 16 screws to reassemble. At this time, there is no timetable for his Octagon return, but knowing Nogueira's warrior spirit, I would expect it to be sooner rather than later.
For more on his UFC on FUEL TV 10 fight click here.