UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione has taken his share of hits in the cage, but the worst KO he’s experienced didn’t come from anyone’s fists. It was from kidney stones—jagged shards of calcium passing through his ureter. Painful? We’ll let Matt put it into his own words.
The world of cage fighting is a tough business, and the men and women who compete in such a rugged environment subject their bodies to a vast variety of physical hazards. With typical bout preparation coming in six- to eight-week training camps, mixed martial artists put themselves through the grinder in hopes of emerging as a new and improved version on the other side.
Nevertheless, injuries are commonplace in the high-impact world of professional face-punching, and the best an athlete can hope for is to survive their preparation periods well enough intact that their performance on fight night won’t be hindered. That being said, there are those whose afflictions are so severe, competing on the big night is simply not an option.
Enter UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione.
The former NFL player turned mixed martial artist recently suffered a double-shot of bad news as he was preparing to face fellow TUF alum Brendan Schaub at UFC on Fox 8 in Seattle. “Meathead” was in south Florida training for his heavyweight showdown in Seattle when he suffered a debilitating hamstring injury that ultimately forced him out of the bout.
News of Mitrione’s injury hit in mid-July, and with the scheduled bout just two weeks away, the UFC could not find a suitable opponent for Schaub. The fight was scrapped from the card, and now the two heavy-handed heavyweight sluggers will square-off at UFC 165 in September.
With no fight directly in front of him and an ass cheek ablaze, Mirtrione decided to return home to Indiana to spend his recovery time with his family. Looking for some much needed R&R, the 35-year-old former Purdue University football standout packed up his car and hit the road for the heartland.
But it was on this drive where Mitrione began to feel something was amiss outside of his existent injury, and over the next three days, he would endure the hellish process of passing kidney stones.
The former TUF alum sat down with FIGHT! Magazine and told us the sordid tale in a manner in which only the whimsical slugger could do it justice.
In Mitrione’s own words:
I was driving home from Florida and started to feel all of this pressure building up downstairs. I wasn’t sure if I had to hit the bathroom, or if it was just something I ate, but I could definitely tell something was wrong. I made it back to Lafayette with my family, and when the discomfort didn’t subside, I took a long hard look at what was going on with my body.
I had danced with kidney stones a time or two before, and when the pain moved down to my balls, I knew exactly what was going on. There are few things worse for a man to go through than having to pass kidney stones, and I knew I was in for some real shit. That being said, I had just returned home, and my kids were super excited to see me. We had made plans to do a bunch of things together, and the biggest on the list was to go to the Taste of Chicago.
From Lafayette to Chicago is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive, and while I was feeling like absolute hell and was in terrible shape, I didn’t want to mess up their fun, so I decided to keep the plans intact.
Of course, I got zero sleep the night before and kept having to get up every two hours and take a cold bath just to take the edge off the pain. Since I was traveling when the stones started moving, I had no time to go see a doctor and was facing this awful shit straight up. The next morning, we loaded up the mini-van and hit the road. My wife was driving, and I was laid out in the passenger seat, and my three kids and mother-in-law were crammed in the vehicle.
As soon as we took off, the pressure in my abdominal area, lower back, and nether regions became extremely intense, which, in turn, pushed me to the edge. I kept making them stop the van so I could get out and stand up, because when you have that kind of pressure, you want to release it in any way you can. I was slugging down magnesium citrate and anything I could in order to make myself puke, dump, or piss. I was trying to relieve the pressure, but nothing was working. We reached the Taste of Chicago, abd I hobbled around all busted up for two days while I attempted to just deal with this crap.
It was hell, pure hell, and finally it reached a point I could no longer stand it. I’ve played football and fist fought some monsters in the cage, but these kidney stones pushed me past my pain threshold, and I finally broke down and went to the hospital. The funny thing is, once they got me put into a bed and shot up with medicine, I passed the stone in 20 minutes, and was so pissed off with myself.
I’m not trying to sound like a hard ass and say if I could have held on for just a bit longer and passed the stones without medicine it would have somehow made me tougher or anything like that. I’m simply saying had I been able to nut it out a bit longer, I would have saved myself $1,500 bucks in medical bills.
While it was undoubtedly a horrific experience, fortunately for fight fans, Mitrione lived to tell the tale. He is fresh off the mend and back in Florida to prepare for the rescheduled bout with Schaub in Toronto. For his sake, may the injury bug—and future kidney stones—stay far off his radar and allow him to resume his career of thumping noggins inside the Octagon.