Dong Hyun Kim is probably inconsolable following his loss to Demian Maia at UFC 148 but there is at least one silver lining – he doesn’t have a broken rib.
The fight ended just 47 seconds in when Maia took Kim’s back while standing and then dragged him to the floor. Kim was in obvious pain when they landed and gave indication that he could not continue.
Immediate speculation was that he had somehow cracked or broken a rib as Maia took him down but now a member of Korean Top Team has explained what happened. Brian Rhee is the manager of ‘Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung but also serves as translator for Kim; he visited him in hospital and got the full story, which he related on The Underground:
“The injury actually occurred about 30 seconds into the fight when the fighters were on the opposite side [from where the fight ended] of the octagon. Maia had one of Stun Gun's legs, which is a position that he actually likes. As they were tied up, somehow Stun Gun got a muscle spasm in his side. He told his corner that something was wrong. Kim defended Maia's takedown attempts for a while, but by the time they got to the other side of the Octagon, he was in too much pain,” he wrote.
“The position in which the injury happened is the kind that happens in training all the time, but for some reason it caused a severe muscle spasm this particular time. It truly was a freak accident. It's a terrible way to lose a fight and Stun Gun is really bummed out about it. I'm sure he'll be back and going strong soon enough, though!”
According to Britain’s National Health Service, most involuntary muscle spasms are "minor" and "cause neither debilitating pain nor injury."
However, severe spasms “may lead to muscle strains or tears of tendons and ligaments, if the force of the spasm exceeds the tensile strength of the underlying connective tissues… Amongst causes of spasms are insufficient hydration, muscle overload, and absence of electrolytes.”
Maia was exultant after the fight was stopped on Saturday night, as well he might have been. It was his welterweight debut and to take a quick win over such a tough opponent was as good as things get for any UFC fighter.
But among the fanbase there was a wide sense of disappointment because the fight had such an unsatisfactory end. Kim should be ready to return to action very soon, given that there is no lasting damage – should the UFC order a rematch?