Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
UFC middleweight Eric Spicely reveals the long-term effects fighting can have on an athletes’ mental health.
Today’s UFC Vegas 5 card, headlined by Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbayzan, went through a bevvy of alterations over the past 48 hours with three fighters pulling out of the event.
Former UFC flyweight title challenger Ray Borg, veteran middleweight Eric Spicely and promotional debutant Timur Valiev were all removed from the event ahead of yesterday’s weigh-ins. The reason for all three fighters’ absences was initially ‘undisclosed’.
However, Spicely decided “for the sake of transparency” to let folks know why we was not able to make his date with Markus Perez inside the UFC APEX Octagon. Yesterday he took to twitter to disclose the struggles that took him out of the fight.
For the sake of transparency this was my first weight cut since starting antidepressants due to the head trauma I sustained in the Deron Winn fight. Needless to say it went horribly wrong and my fight is off. I will figure this problem out and hopefully be able to compete again. https://t.co/ZYro3waykE
— éS (@EricSpicely) July 31, 2020
“For the sake of transparency this was my first weight cut since starting antidepressants due to the head trauma I sustained in the Deron Winn fight,” revealed Spicely. “Needless to say it went horribly wrong and my fight is off. I will figure this problem out and hopefully be able to compete again.”
Spicely fought Winn at UFC Fight Night: Moicano vs. Korean Zombie on June 22, 2019. He lost that bout by decision. The loss came off the back of back-to-back TKO wins for Spicely, over Caio Magalhaes and Leo Pla inside the CES promotion. Spicely had been cut from the UFC after three losses in 2017-18, two of those losses were by TKO.
Scientific studies have shown that people who suffer mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs)—commonly referred to as ‘concussions’—are at a highly risk of suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
In disclosing his injury Spicely becomes one of just a few fighters willing to discuss the mental health impacts of professional cage-fighting. Despite so few fighters discussing depression, PTSD and other mental health issues as a direct result of fighting, it is suspected that a sizeable portion of current and former professional MMA fighters are in similar positions to Spicely.
Former UFC fighter David Mitchell recently discussed his long struggle with concussions, depression, PTSD, and biploar disorder with Bloody Elbow.
Individuals in the USA who are thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support for depression can call the 24/7 Lifeline Network at 1-800-273-8255.
Canadians suffering from depression can call the Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-833-242-3310.
International mental health help lines can be found at ceckpointorg.com.