Julianna Pena details how horrific leg injury happened

Elias Cepeda
April 2, 2014
Julianna Pena
Julianna Pena became the first ever women's Ultimate Fighter champion but is sidelined with a serious leg injury. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

After TUF winner Julianna Pena blew her leg out during a gym workout earlier this year, UFC president Dana White got on twitter and blasted her teammates and gym for letting it happen. According to White, Pena was picked on and virtually attacked by a male teammate, contributing to her serious leg injury.

White said he heard the story from Pena and the promoter was irate since it appeared that Pena may have to miss up to two years of action because of the injury.

Pena's coaches and teammates came out and publicy denied that such a scenario was plausible but we didn't hear much if anything at all from Pena herself. That changed when Pena was interviewed on the Jason Ellis show recently and explained what happened (audio below).

"I don't think I accidentally explained it incorrectly to [Dana White] - I think I explained it 110 percent exactly how the story went," Pena began.

"What happened was, I wasn't even wearing an Ultimate Fighter shirt...the kid told me he thought it was an Ultimate Fighter rash guard. But, here's the thing, it's a gray rash guard, okay? It had a little UFC emblem on it. I was wearing that, I was late. So, when I got there, he was like ‘hurry up, let's go.' So, I get on the mat, I hit the clock, and he says, ‘Oh, you're wearing your Ultimate Fighter rash guard. I was like, what's that supposed to mean? ‘That you're really tough, I'm really scared.' I'm like, whatever, and we slapped hands, and a minute later, my knee was tore out.

"Normally, in the gym, when there's tons of people we start on our knees, you know there's not enough room. But, in this instance, it was just me and him on the mat. No one was there, and we slapped hands, and we started going, but right when we started going, it was like ‘Urghh!' fighting for your life, just cock strong, you know, both of us, and I was like, ‘you're not taking me down, bro.' And he wasn't, so, he was trying to take me down as much as he could. So, I had my shoulder blades up against the back wall, and he's trying to rear-naked choke me from the side of my body. It's not even close, and it pissed me off, and I'm like, be technical. Don't try to cock strong, you know? I was turning into him, and he was trying to drag me to the ground and rear-naked choke me at the same time, just trying to use all of his weight to try to drop me to the ground. So, when I turned into it, it was just the amount of force - it just blew."

Since the accident, Pena has undergone successful surgery and has begun the path of recovery. It will be interesting to see how her coaches and teammates react to her explanation above in the coming days and weeks. 

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