Snakebitten Radach Undergoes Surgery, Battles Staph

By Brian Knapp Feb 19, 2010
Benji Radach has traveled down this road too many times before.

The 30-year-old middleweight underwent surgery on Thursday to clean out a staph infection that resulted from a procedure two weeks ago in which doctors repaired a torn pectoral muscle. Radach, who thinks it will be four to six months before he can train, may not be fit to compete again until 2011.

“It’s really frustrating to me,” he said. “I’m just trying to fulfill my goals, and all I get are these setbacks. It’s definitely a frustrating thing. I get a few fights in, and then I get pulled off to the sidelines with these injuries.”

Radach has a long-standing relationship with the injury bug. Bitten by a brown recluse spider in 2004, he developed an infection that carved a golf ball-sized hole out of his leg. Still, he accepted a match against Chris Leben under the Sportfight banner and suffered a broken jaw in two places for his troubles. Radach eventually missed nearly three years of competition, as he underwent surgeries for a herniated disc and torn knee ligament, the latter of which resulted in a serious MRSA staph infection that led to talk of possible amputation. Broken hands and a broken collarbone have rounded out his injury checklist.

With one fight remaining on his current Strikeforce contract, Radach sustained his latest injury in January, as he trained Jay Silva for his UFC Fight Night 20 matchup with Leben.

“I was trying to stay in decent shape,” he said. “I thought I had warmed up enough. The first thing out of my mouth was, ‘F--k, f--k, f--k!’ I felt like my shoulder was going to come out of the socket. I’ve never had it come out before, but that’s what I thought was happening.”

An MRI revealed the extent of the damage.

“Lying on my back, I couldn’t put my arm straight up,” Radach said. “My whole arm was full of blood, down to my hand. They said, sure enough, I had torn [my pectoral muscle] from the bone.”

The UFC and International Fight League veteran underwent surgery to repair the muscle two weeks ago, but earlier this week, a new problem surfaced when Radach returned to the gym -- MRSA staph, a drug-resistant bacterial infection.

“I got a little too active too early, and I think that helped the infection to set up,” he said. “I was training instructors, and it started bugging me. I developed a bubble right on the cut. I went to the emergency room, and they told me they weren’t touching it, to go back and see my surgeon.”

His doctor bore bad news. A second procedure was required.

“He aspirated it -- cut it about an inch and a half deep and two inches wide and squeezed all this s--t out -- and packed it full of gauze,” Radach said. “It was nasty. We’ll have to keep doing that until it heals. It has to heal from the inside out. Whenever a person has MRSA, it makes them more susceptible to it. I just hope it doesn’t kill me at some point.”

Radach aims to return to the Strikeforce cage by the end of the year, should his recovery go according to plan. He has not competed since his knockout loss to Scott Smith in April. Despite his latest setback, Radach sees a silver lining in time spent away from fighting.

“On the flipside, my body’s not getting beat up,” he said. “I’m not taking shots to the head. It’s something where I’ll spring back and still be full of fire. I always come back ready to roll. I’ve just got to stay optimistic. Something good will happen.”
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