"I've never felt like that ever before. Not just the breathing. It felt like I couldn't concentrate. I wasn't my normal self."
UFC Goldenboy Sage Northcutt suffered his first professional loss in Newark on Saturday night. The youngster tapped out to late replacement Bryan Barberena, which was viewed by many as a facile win.
As if losing wasn't hard enough, Northcutt then was bombarded online by many of the UFC roster. Many of the fighters were delighted that Northcutt lost, especially for what they viewed as a performance with no heart.
The Texan has been fast tracked by the promotion, and given paydays that many have to wait years to attain. Something that has obviously irked many within the promotion. At UFC Fight Night 80 it was reported that he allegedly earned $80,000 as he defeated Cody Pfister.
However, now it appears that all was not well with Sage Northcutt.
Sage Northcutt has finally opened up about the fight, and provided an excuse for his poor peformance. Speaking on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, he revealed that days before the fight he contracted strep throat resulting in a visit to the emergency clinic.
Two days before my fight, I had a real bad relapse of the strep throat and I had to go to the emergency ready clinic. The UFC had to take me, then [a doctor] with the UFC had to write a prescription for more antibiotics, stuff like that. So I really couldn't explain how I felt out there. I felt really horrible.
The youngster said that this bout of strep was his third in four months, and affected both his breathing and concentration. He even claims that the illness made it nearly impossible to hear his coach, even when face to face.
I've never felt like that ever before. Not just the breathing. It felt like I couldn't concentrate. I wasn't my normal self. I was having a real hard time hearing. Like, you can imagine if you fly on an airplane and your ears get stuffed up where they have to pop? It felt like that but times two or three, where I couldn't even hear my coaches, what they were saying. Even face-to-face, I couldn't hear anything.
Coming up in the week for the UFC, I always try to keep a smile on my face and act like there's nothing going on, so that way no one would know that I was even sick or anything like that. The UFC knew I was sick because I had to go to the emergency clinic. But really, I was just laying down in bed and sleeping the whole time coming into the event, besides going out and doing the media that I got do to and had to do for the UFC.
Enduring a UFC fight is tough. Enduring one while not being able to breath properly must be even tougher. The youngster has already shown fans a glimpse of his potential, and it appears like he has a fan in UFC President Dana White.
It was Dana White himself who discovered the 19 year old at an MMA event in Louisiana. At first White disregarded the teen as a wannabe, but was blown away by his performance ultimately earning Northcutt a fight on the UFC 192 FIGHT PASS Prelims.
Speaking about his loss at UFC on FOX 18, Northcutt vividly described how it felt like breathing through a straw. Not a desirable idea when it comes to MMA.
It wasn't the fact that I was panicking. I felt very calm. The thing was, having a hard time breathing and having a mouthpiece in ... when he was on top of me, having his shoulder, I guess, in my throat for that -- I know it wasn't like a traditional head and arm choke from side control where you get to apply the same kind of pressure, but just being able to have your jaw shut and then trying to breathe through your nose for this time during the fight, I was so congested, to tell you the truth, that I couldn't even breathe, much less stand up really.
That's why I wasn't able to move the same, wasn't able to kick the same. What I wanted to do and what I thought in my head about doing out there, I wasn't able to actually act it out and do it because my body wasn't able to keep up. It was like breathing through a straw. That's what it really felt like. So down there in that position, even though it may not have been the best locked in hold, I was having such a hard time breathing that it was just as tight as what it might have been if I was in that kind of position if I wasn't sick, if that makes sense.
You do feel for the young Texan. After so much hype built up around him, especially from the promotion itself, it was disheartening to see so many fighters take such delight in his loss.
Northcutt went on to describe how he felt as if he had let down his friends, family, UFC and himself. We're sure he'll pick himself backup and prepare for his next battle. After all, he is only 19 and hopefully has a lengthy and entertaining career ahead of him.
Now the UFC world has turned it gaze upon the upcoming super fight at UFC 196. McGregor takes on Rafael Dos Anjos for the lightweight belt.
With Paige VanZaint, Rhonda Rousey and now Sage Northcutt all derailed... It looks like Conor McGregor is the last golden child of the UFC yet to fall. Could it be his time?