I’m sure the check-signers over at UFC felt pretty good about themselves last week, after pledging $1 million to the Cleveland Clinic to help with research into the effects of head trauma on professional athletes, including MMA fighters.
They might want to put the cork back in the bubbly.
That’s because the future is now and longtime UFC veteran Spencer Fisher, who helped launch the promotion into the stratosphere with fan-friendly (and brain-unfriendly) “Fight of the Night” wars against Sam Stout, among others, was recently declared “permanently disabled and unable to work.”
That’s according to his in-depth interview with MMA Fighting.
“I forget where I’m going, depression, dizzy spells, calling people different names, not knowing their actual names,” Fisher explained. “My kids, I’ve had instances where I couldn’t think of their names on the spot. My balance is shot. I have a hard time remembering what I did yesterday. Last week is a complete blur.”
Fisher, 44, finished his career with a 24-9 record and 19 finishes, suffering just three knockout losses in defeat. But as we learned from TJ Grant and many others, brain injuries can be unpredictable with devastating consequences.
And “The King” is now dependent on medications like Memantine and Cariprazine to get him through the day.
“I gotta support a family who understands my condition and tries to help me out the best they can,” Fisher continued. “I don’t want to die alone and not know anybody when I see them. I don’t want to go out of this world not knowing people I love, or not knowing new people.”
Fisher was receiving compensation from UFC through an arrangement with promotion president Dana White, alongside other veterans like Matt Hughes and Chuck Liddell, but the funds dried up when ZUFFA was bought by Endeavor back in summer 2016.
Spencer was first diagnosed with “bilateral destructive lesions” on his brain while still under contract with UFC in mid-2013 and was declared medically unfit to compete.
“The King” would never fight again.