MMA

Coach: Till entered Brunson fight with torn ACL

  • MMA columnist for ESPN.com
  • Analyst for “MMA Live”
  • Covered MMA for Las Vegas Sun

UFC middleweight Darren Till went into his main event bout against Derek Brunson last weekend with a torn ACL in his right knee, his head coach confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday.

According to Till’s head coach Colin Heron, Till (18-4-1) completely tore his ACL approximately nine weeks before the fight. The 28-year-old elected to proceed with the fight for a multitude of reasons, despite contrary advice from physicians and Heron. Till ultimately lost to Brunson via submission in the third round, in a grappling heavy affair.

“It happened about nine weeks out, wrestling,” Heron told ESPN. “We got it scanned, looked at properly. The results came back as a completely torn ACL. So, he’s out, isn’t he? That was the advice from me and the doctors. Rest. You can’t do nothing. Surgery is a must. No running, no fast movement, no impact.

“Darren being Darren, he said, ‘Can we give it two weeks and see if I can start running and hit pads?’ And I’m like, ‘No, not really. A torn ACL doesn’t get better by itself. You’re talking surgery and then six months of rehab alone.’ But before you know it he’s talked me into it, as he does. I’ve really only got one option, then: support him, whatever his decision is. If he’s not going to take my advice, I’ve got to stick with him. I can’t disown him. We made the best of it that we could.”

Till, of Liverpool, is still in Las Vegas, where the fight against Brunson took place. He is scheduled to undergo a scan Wednesday, to assess whether he suffered any more damage to either knee during the fight. Heron said a surgery date has not yet been scheduled, but he expects Till to undergo a procedure to repair the knee “the quickest they’re able to.”

Prior to last weekend, Till had not fought since October 2020. He suffered an injury to his right knee during a unanimous decision loss to Robert Whittaker. Till was also forced to pull out of a scheduled bout against Marvin Vettori in April, due to a broken collarbone.

“You can’t criticize his bravery, you can only criticize the decision — the gamble that didn’t pay off,” Heron said. “A lot impacted this. He hadn’t fought in awhile. Then next thing we know, a card was built around him. The rumor was it was going to be in London, and if there was no Till in the main event, there might not be a card at all. He had teammates who wanted to fight on that card. That’s a lot of pressure. He’s one of those guys who says, ‘F— it. Let’s do it.'”

There is no current timeframe for Till’s return. Typical recovery from a torn ACL usually ranges between nine and 12 months.

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