Two-time Bellator middleweight tournament winner Alexander Shlemenko was involved in a car accident in his native Russia on Wednesday, suffering a broken collarbone and a dislocated thumb as a result.
Sherdog.com confirmed the news on Friday with Alexei Zhernakov, vice president of Shlemenko’s gym, RusFighters Sport Club. According to Zhernakov, the middleweight veteran was riding in the passenger’s seat when his vehicle was hit by a drunk driver.
Shlemenko was taken to the hospital after the crash and had casts placed on his thumb and shoulder, which are scheduled to be removed after two weeks and a month, respectively. After the casts are taken off, “Storm” must then undergo physical therapy before he can return to his full training regimen.
In the meantime, Zhernakov says Shlemenko will still frequent the RusFighter gym, helping to train his teammates while chomping at the bit to make his return to the cage.
“He’s the kind of fighter who prefers to fight [frequently],” said Zhernakov, “so he is very disappointed.”
Shlemenko last competed just six days ago at Super Fight League 2 in India, knocking out Ikuhisa Minowa in the first round. Known for his effective spinning back fists as well as his well-rounded striking arsenal, the 27-year-old Russian is a veteran of 52 career fights. “Storm” has lost just once since October 2009, dropping a unanimous decision to Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard at Bellator 34 in 2010. Since that defeat, Shlemenko has won eight straight, capturing Bellator’s Season 5 middleweight tournament crown this past fall by topping Zelg Galesic, Brian Rogers and Vitor Vianna.