Former MMA fighter and decade long UFC veteran Spencer Fisher has had many battles in the Octagon. After finishing up a career with a 24-9 record, he had an appointment for a pre-fight medical brain scan. When he discovered lesions on his brain, he was forced to retire in 2013. To this day, Fisher deals with symptoms that hamper his way of life from depression to memory loss, he spoke about this in detail to Steven Marrocco of MMAFighting.com.
Where his ability to function has been plagued by the bearings that he had taken from 2002-2012, Fisher is an example of what many fighters may be expected to go through once their career will end. One man who was asked about this topic, UFC President Dana White, made it clear when discussing the issue of learning more on the topic of brain trauma and how an MMA career can be a costly decision to make when one wants to pursue it.
“Listen, we’re all learning every day about the brain injury stuff,” White told MMA Junkie.com. “We’ve been invested in this [Lou] Ruvo Center [at the Cleveland Clinic] to try and figure out more. We’re now interested in this thing just came out on Real Sports about psychedelics and we’ve actually reached out to the Johns Hopkins guys and we’re diving into that. But listen, he’s not the first and he’s definitely not going to be the last. This is a contact sport and anybody who’s done this younger, myself included, is dealing with brain issues. It’s part of the gig.”
UFC welterweight Matt Brown has been sympathetic towards Fisher’s condition as he has been starting to face similar obstacles that his one-time training partner continues to battle today during a media day interview last Wednesday at UFC Fight Island 7.
“That’s a real thing. I’ve suffered some of those same things,” Brown said. “I know Spencer well. We trained together back in the day. A lot of those issues are very possible and that’s probably the big thing that I would put into my mind. You’ve got to think about those things. I’ve been very fortunate. I don’t know how I’ve done it because I’ve had tons and tons of gym wars and of course wars inside the cage, too. I would definitely think about that a lot more.
“Cause I know Spencer, he’s a friend. I guess I never really talked to him about that kind of stuff even though I knew he was kind of struggling with it. I didn’t realize how deep it really was.”
With the MMA community continuously going through the slow, but sure wear and tear of a career, one can only imagine who may be next in suffering from further damage that can make retirement feel like a nightmare. Absorbing so much physical abuse will do that to someone. The high demands of a combat sports career can nip at a person’s soul more so than it can make their health and safety deteriorate. Should more fighters continue to train and fight at an extreme level pace, the list of fighters who may join Fisher can be much longer.