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Former UFC fighter Matt Grice discusses life after tragic 2013 accident

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Life is determined by mere seconds. That applies to fighting inside of a cage and living day-to-day outside of it.

Unlike many mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters before him, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight Matt Grice unfortunately found out the hard way that every second truly matters. Remember, the now 34-year-old was nearly killed in September 2013 after his car was struck from behind by another vehicle traveling 65 miles per hour. Grice needed emergency brain surgery to help decrease swelling, leaving him without a significant portion of his skull.

It remains one of the more egregious events in the MMA world over the past five years, especially considering Grice was coming off his best Octagon performance to date, a three-round Fight of the Night loss to Dennis Bermudez at UFC 157, before his life changed forever.

Over two years removed from the accident, Grice, a member of the Oklahoma City Police Department (OCPD), has found his way back to normalcy. In a recent interview with Thomas Gerbasi of, the retired MMA brawler opens up about life after a split-second tragedy.

"Every once in a while I look back at all the stuff that I’ve been through and done, and try to make the best of the situation," said Grice. "I didn’t get to retire on my terms when I was ready. It was taken from me, but I look at it as God has a plan for everything, and if I can inspire some of the other guys and other people in this world to keep fighting and keep trying, that’s what I’m here for."

While Grice seems to have recovered nicely since the accident, it wasn't easy for him to make it to where he is today.

"After the accident, I came back to work and I was working on patrol," added Grice. "The doctors were saying I would never do that again, but I proved them wrong, the way I did a lot of things, and I went back to the streets and was on patrol for a little over a year. And then I put in for a new position with the Police Athletic League, and I got that. So for the last couple months, I’ve been starting that new journey. I’m proud to be a part of it, trying to help these young kids."

In addition to working with the OCPD's Police Athletic League, Grice has been coaching younger MMA students at the R1-MMA Training Facility. But no matter how busy he gets, or how normal life becomes (that's a good thing), Grice will always remember how lucky he is to have beaten the odds.

"My recovery isn’t the norm," said Grice. "I thank God every day that I recovered as much as I did so I can be here with my wife and kids and help support them still because most people in this case don’t recover like this."

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