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Geoff Neal suffered congestive heart failure prior to ‘Wonderboy’ loss, UFC let him fight anyway

UFC Fight Night: Thompson v Neal Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight prospect Geoff Neal, who blasted his way into the promotion by way of Dana White’s “Contender Series,” is disappointed with his performance at the UFC Vegas 17 mixed martial arts (MMA) event, which took place last weekend inside APEX in “Sin City.”

Perhaps “Handz of Steel” should grateful he’s still alive.

After all, Neal suffered congestive heart failure prior to his Stephen Thompson headliner, as well as sepsis, then somehow battled four grueling rounds completely blind in one eye. That’s before we even mention the issues his corner had with COVID-19, making me wonder how this fight stayed together when so many others fell apart.

“So much adversity leading up to this fight,” Neal wrote on Instagram. “Sepsis, congestive heart failure, three of my corners testing positive for covid, with one of them being the general Sayif Saud, but I still made that walk and fought that fight. Couldn’t see out of my right eye for four rounds and still managed to hang in there with a guy whose been kicking ass since I was like nine years old lol. I don’t know about y’all but I’m proud of me!”

Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) requires all fighters to pass a pre-fight medical exam prior to stepping into the cage. In the absence of a regulatory body, the promotion and its physicians follow the NSAC guidelines, which makes me wonder how Neal was able to get through his physical without raising any red flags.

I guess “fighter safety” means looking okay and feeling okay during fight week.

Perhaps Neal omitted the information or the people charged with rubber-stamping his application didn't think a pair of life-threatening medical conditions were enough to cancel the UFC Vegas 17 main event. Either way, I would have some questions for his coach and trainers, who are charged with protecting their fighter at all times.

Even from himself, if necessary.

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