After his impressive win over Vitor Belfort in UFC 198, Ronaldo Souza arrived at the post-fight press conference with a limp.
According to some teammates who were backstage that night, it was due to a knee injury that happened the week before that fight. Shortly after the wrestling sparring session in which the ailment occurred, “Jacare” visited Dr. Rickson Moraes, who prescribed ice and anti-inflammatories.
“I saw him one day before his flight to Curitiba. Once Ronaldo reacted well to the treatment, we decided to not ask for special authorization from athletic commission for use of corticoids (a type of hormone that reduces swelling and is typically issued as a therapeutic use exemption by athletic commissions). He had an MRI as soon as he returned to check the extent of the injury, which clearly got worse during the fight,” Moraes said.
After the fight, as agreed, Moraes took Souza to his partner, knee specialist Alexandre Campello.
“We work as a team of different specialists. Mine is shoulder; Dr. Alexandre Campello is our knee specialist. He did an MRI and found it was a complete lesion of the meniscus, meaning that Souza needed surgery as soon as possible.”
Moraes also revealed that after the UFC offered Souza a chance to replace Chris Weidman and challenge Luke Rockhold for the middleweight title at UFC 199, “Jacare” wanted to postpone the surgery to fight. However, the doctors had already made the decision.
“We had a meeting and concluded that it would be impossible for him to fight. He wasn’t able to walk properly. Furthermore, it could lead to even more severe damage on his knee,” Moraes said.
Souza also attempted to convince the UFC to delay Rockhold’s title defense, but the promotion did not want to lose its headliner for the June 4 event. Instead, Michael Bisping will face Rockhold in the new main event.
Souza will undergo surgery on Thursday. According to Moraes, if everything goes as planned, the fighter can return to training in four weeks.