What a long, strange trip it has been.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight Brandon Vera is currently on the sidelines nursing a hand injury and at this time, has no definitive timeline for his Octagon return. That's according to his coach, Eric Del Fierro, who told MMA Fighting "The Truth" is back in training, but still limited in what he can do.
"He is back in training, but not punching yet. He actually shattered his hand again, same one that he broke in the Shogun [Rua] fight. He had a wire sticking out of his hand for about three months straight and this time I think he took those wire cables out, whatever they were. I think it's finally healing, but he's not punching yet. As of this date, we don't have any plans for him yet."
The clock is ticking.
Vera, 36, was at one time considered a future champion, racking up eight straight wins and finishing off former UFC heavyweight kingpin Frank Mir. But after a perfect 8-0 start to his mixed martial arts (MMA) career, "The Truth" has gone just 4-7 with one no contest and has struggled to stay healthy.
That includes an unsuccessful run at light heavyweight, as well as a short-lived release.
His inability to defeat a ranked opponent in almost five years leaves him on the outside looking in and the bad news is, the sport continues to evolve at a rapid pace and has been known to chew up and spit out the old guard in the most unforgiving manner.
If and when Vera ever returns the cage, he certainly has his work cut out for him.