Sometimes you have to say yes, like when Gozer asks if you’re a god. Other times, it’s okay to say no, like when 6’9”, 350-pound Hafthor Bjornsson (“The Mountain” from Game of Thrones) asks you to grapple. You know, that whole “risk vs. reward” thing.
That was a painful lesson learned by UFC welterweight veteran Gunnar Nelson. The 33 year-old Icelander was coming off a rib injury prior to facing Gilbert Burns back in Sept. 2019, then suffered nearly the same fate against Bjornsson last May.
“I catch him with an armbar from the top but I want to get it from the bottom and so I try to do that in the second round, he collapses on top of me and I could feel a nasty pop,” Nelson told The MMA Hour (transcribed by Hugh Farrell). “I could just feel it swelling up but something in me was like, ‘I’m not going to say anything now, I’m just going to finish the round.’”
Bjornsson, a record-setting powerlifter who recently smashed arm-wrestling icon Devon Larratt in a celebrity boxing match, previously sparred with UFC headliner Conor McGregor and laughed at reports that he was “folded” by the “Notorious” Irishman.
“It happens again where I get curled up like this and he pulls all his weight and at this stage I’m just having real problems with my arm and breathing and stuff,” Nelson continued. “I’m just thinking, ‘I have to wait for him to show his neck and we can get this over with’ because it’s too late to stop now and say that I hurt myself. It was a really fun thing but it was probably stupid… I probably should have stopped when it happened.”
Here’s the video of their grappling match:
Nelson is expected to remain out of action until next May.
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