It was a scary injury.
Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran was winding down his training camp for a title defense against Patricio Freire in August, and he caught a punch that put him on the sidelines for weeks with a fractured orbital.
“I guess I was sparring with a guy a little bit too big,” Curran told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “He was a boxer. I was just boxing down in Chicago. I don’t know, it was just a freak accident. I was sparring with him pretty much the whole camp leading up to the fight. It was my second to last sparring session and he just clipped me with a right hook, and it fractured it.”
If a fractured orbital sounds painful, that’s because it is.
“It was pretty painful,” Curran said. “It was my first time ever fracturing my orbital. When it happened, I really didn’t know what was going on. I was instantly blind. My nose started bleeding on the same side and I pretty much lost vision for about 30 minutes. It was hard for me to see out of that eye for a while, but in time, it healed.”
The injury didn’t require surgery. Instead, Curran went eight weeks without sparring and then switched to thicker headgear before jumping back in the ring to prepare for his defense against Freire, which takes place Thursday at Bellator Fighting Championships 85.
“Pretty much my first sparring session, I just jumped right back into it,” Curran said. “I didn’t even think about it. It wasn’t even on my mind. I just wanted to get back into training.”
Curran enters the bout on a four-fight win streak. However, after a March knockout of Joe Warren, he appeared to be headed into the originally scheduled date with Freire at full momentum.
“After the injury I was very disappointed,” Curran said. “I was upset with myself. It’s something I couldn’t have done anything about, but it was definitely a setback in our plans.”
Now that he’s fully recovered, though, he’s not worried about the time he had to take off. If anything, Curran said, the fight’s delay has given him even more time to develop his skills. And even though he’s been on the sidelines, Freire has as well, having not fought since May 2011.
“It’s really hard to [know what to] expect, but I’m looking to stand and trade,” Curran said. “If it hits the ground, I’m looking to submit him or either get back up and just keep it standing.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:01:27).