Fighting Not Top Priority for ‘TUF 8’ Finalist Nover

By Joe Myers Nov 5, 2010
Phillipe Nover (pictured) remains best known in the mixed martial arts world as the lightweight runner-up from Season 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” He wants to improve upon that legacy, but it is not the top priority in his life.

“Being an MMA fighter is very important in my life, but even as far as I’ve gone in the sport, after taking a couple of losses, there isn’t a lot of stability,” said the 26-year-old Nover, who lost to Robert Emerson at UFC 109 in February and was subsequently released by the promotion. “I needed to do something to stabilize my life and take care of myself and possibly my future family. That’s why getting health insurance was my number one priority and getting a job where there’s a union involved where they can’t just let you go.

“With MMA, the stability just isn’t there like where I work now,” he added. “I enjoy martial arts in general and cornering guys. I think I can contribute, not only as fighter but as a coach and a fan. I’m happy with where I stand right now, but I have to hang it up for just a little bit longer.”

Nover, who hails from Brooklyn, N.Y., started his professional MMA career 4-0-1 before being cast in the eighth season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” He submitted Joe Duarte in the second round to advance to the quarter-finals before recording a pair of first-round submissions against David Kaplan and George Roop to advance to the final against Efrain Escudero. However, Nover’s run ended there, as Escudero won a unanimous decision at “The Ultimate Fighter 8” Finale in December 2008.

The loss to Escudero was followed by a controversial first-round knockout defeat to Kyle Bradley at UFC 98 in May 2009. Nover was then scheduled to face Sam Stout at UFC Fight Night 19 the following September, but he collapsed backstage prior to the bout. Though he only remained unconscious for about five seconds, enough concern followed to force the cancellation of the fight. A battery of tests followed the incident, but all of them came back clear. After several visits to different doctors, the fainting spell was attributed to a combination of pre-fight anxiety, the severe weight cut and then gorging after he made weight.

Since the loss to Emerson, Nover has taken a new job working in the Cardiac/Cath Lab at Lutheran Hospital in New York -- Nover is a registered nurse who has worked in emergency rooms in the past -- and has spent time teaching martial arts at Brooklyn MMA.

“I lost and basically needed to get my life stabilized,” said Nover, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who has also trained in Universal Defense Systems -- a combination of Filipino arnis, muay Thai, kung fu, judo, jeet kune do and savate -- since the age of 10. “I needed to get a stable job and not have to wait every three or four months to get paid. I needed a job with insurance and a pension. Now I’m working, and I help doctors put catheters in people’s hearts. It’s a great job that I was looking to get for a while. I’ve also been getting involved in the coaching aspect of fighting, which has been a dream of mine.”

Along with working, teaching martial arts and coaching fighters, Nover has been on the mend for the past couple of months following an emergency appendectomy.

“I had a perforated appendix,” said Nover. “I waited until it perforated before I went and saw the doctor. They had to do open surgery to get it done, so I had to stop doing anything, and I just picked up my training and conditioning. I’m feeling better now, thank God.”

Nover claims to have had opportunities to fight since his release from the UFC but decided to focus on other parts of his life.

“My manager did call me, but he knows I’m taking time off right now,” said Nover. “He called me about a fight in Europe over the summer and another in California, but, as of now, he knows what I’m doing in my life. I want to be a normal person for a little bit because fighting does take up a lot of your time.”

Nover plans to fight again. He just wants it to be at the right time for him.

“I’ve been trying to plan my next fight, but I have so many things going on that I don’t want to give 50 or 60 percent to fighting,” said Nover. “I definitely would like to fight, and the quicker, the better, but I don’t want to rush things. I want to go through a real training camp. I’ve even been thinking of different places to train and switching things up, but I’m enjoying doing what I do right now. It’d be nice to fight soon, but I don’t want to rush it. I don’t want to spread the blanket too thin.”
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