Cain Velasquez is no stranger to going under the knife, as a number of ailments and subsequent surgeries have sidelined the former UFC heavyweight champion over the years.
That lengthy injury history is part of what compelled Velasquez to speak out as one of the figureheads of the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association, which was officially formed on Wednesday in hopes of seeking better treatment and compensation for fighters in the UFC. Velasquez is part of the five-man MMAAA board that also includes Georges St. Pierre, Donald Cerrone, Tim Kennedy and T.J. Dillashaw.
“I want to talk about something that I know far too well. My first fight in the UFC was in 2008. Since that time, I’ve had seven surgeries,” Velasquez said during a conference call to announce the Association.
The American Kickboxing Academy product later revealed that his next procedure will occur in the not-too-distant future. However, that surgery will not keep him out of his scheduled UFC 207 clash with Fabricio Werdum. Velasquez did not mention the nature of his latest injury.
“I have a fight Dec. 30. After that fight I’m already scheduled for my next surgery,” Velasquez said. “It’s not just me, it’s other UFC fighters that are going through the same thing that I’ve gone through. For us, in the future, there is no post-retirement health plan. That’s why I think it’s important for what we’re doing now, us fighters coming together and having the rest of the UFC roster come together to make our lives better now and in the future.”
UFC 207 takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and is headlined by a women’s bantamweight title clash between Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey. Cain lost the heavyweight title to Werdum via third-round submission in their first meeting at UFC 188 in Mexico City.