For his first win in the UFC following his triumphant run on the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter, Ryan Bader may have fought through a painful injury to get that win as the former Arizona State wrestler appears to have torn both his ACL and MCL in the first round of his fight against Carmelo Marrero.
The news comes from Bader who spoke exclusively with MMAWeekly.com after the fight, and later updated by his coach Trevor Lally after speaking to doctors who examined the fighter following the bout.
"The doctor said I blew my MCL out and maybe the ACL. Hopefully not. It was in the first (round)," Bader said. "One of the first takedowns, I was passing from half-guard trying to pass to side control and I just heard my knee pop, which isn't a big deal because they pop every once in a while.
"I stood back up and I felt that it was really, really loose. It didn't really do too much as far as impeding me in the fight or anything like that, but it was starting to swell up a little bit. Hopefully the ACL is fine. I don't really want to deal with that."
While Bader won't have definitive results until he heads back home to Arizona, doctors on site believe that he did actually tear both the ACL and MCL, which could require surgery and extensive rehab.
Regardless of the injury, Bader battled through to pick up the unanimous decision win, but he still believes that he could have done more to pick up the pace in the fight.
"I didn't feel like I fought to my potential. I felt tired out there a little bit, maybe some nerves of being in my first big UFC fight besides The Ultimate Fighter house and that kind of thing," Bader commented.
"From the arm bar, I felt like I didn't transition well. I could have went for a triangle here or there. I felt like I was a little sloppy on my stand up. We tightened a lot of things up and I just felt like I could have been more technical and transitioned a little better. But a win's a win. I've just got to look forward to my next fight and get better from there."
The fans in attendance in Nashville were vocal towards Bader and Marrero when the action slowed on the ground, but the former "Ultimate Fighter" winner takes the criticism in stride as well.
"It did upset me. Obviously you don't like to be booed. I was kind of disappointed in myself a little bit from that kind of aspect. But what can you do?" Bader said. "I was out there giving it my all at that time, so I couldn't really do anything else about it."
Bader will head back home with his teammates from Arizona Combat Sports and have his knee checked out again at that time.