clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

UFC veteran Babalu Sobral suffering from CTE: ‘I can’t walk a straight line’

New, comments

Well-traveled mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran Renato Sobral, who competed for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Strikeforce, and Bellator MMA, just to name a few, has not participated in cage fighting since a technical knockout loss to Jacob Noe back in June 2013.

After nearly 50 professional fights, it was time to call it a career.

Unfortunately for “Babalu,” who was knocked out seven times since his 1997 debut, the damage incurred from over 15 years in the fight game has started to take its toll, leaving the 43 year-old Brazilian with several physical ailments.

Some of which may be getting progressively worse.

“I already have [chronic] traumatic encephalopathy, actually. People barely talk about it,” Sobral told MMA Fighting. “You can do a research, [professional fighters] have peaks of depression, we have seizures, you don’t listen that well. I don’t have speaking issues yet, but I lost the eye sight of my left eye, I have osteoarthritis on my entire body. My knee. I have 13 surgeries through my entire body. So, there’s a price (to pay). It’s not in there for free. I don’t even think it’s about glory, because it’s not for enough time.”

Sobral (37-11) started exhibiting unusual behavior as far back as 2007, choking out David Heath at UFC 75 and then refusing to release the hold after referee Steve Mazzagatti attempted to intervene. The lapse in judgment cost him a spot on the UFC roster.

Then came his referee shove at Bellator 96 (watch it).

”Today I can’t walk a straight line, I lost sight of my left eye, which is a big price (to pay). I have no balance today, my balance is almost zero,” Sobral continued. “The guys that start fighting have to know that the price to pay will come one day. For everyone. People only talk about the good things today, what they have accomplished, what happened, but what about what you’ve lost? What happened to you?”

CTE slowly started to make its way into the mainstream conversation as combat sports began to mature in age. Along with K-1 legend Gary Goodridge, popular UFC fighters like T.J. Grant and Krzysztof Soszynski were forced to make early exits — something this Bellator MMA fighter may want to consider before it’s too late.

Judging by what we’ve seen thus far, maybe it already is.