Pearson immediately thought he had broken his foot. But knowing he had an important match moments ahead of him, Pearson headed out the Octagon with white tape wrapped around his foot. While lacking his usual footwork during a first round that went Couture's way, he eventually TKO'd him in the second round.
Later, after the match Pearson said, "I think I broke my foot in the back warming up. The very first kick I threw hit the pad and then hit coach Eric Del Fierro's elbow. I just dropped to the floor because I knew I had hurt something. I was in full panic mode because I had really hurt something.
"That's what champions do, though, they fight through it. I listened to my corner who talked me through it, telling me to relax and calm down. When I got into the fight I really knew I had hurt something and I think I need an X-ray on this one. We tried everything- icing it out, ironing out the bruising, taping it up- just try and botch something together to make it work. I just fought through it."
Pearson skipped the post-fight press conference and instead headed to the hospital to have his foot examined by a doctor. The medical check revealed that Pearson's foot was not broken, just badly damaged.
Pearson tweeted on Sunday, "Thank U everyone for the support! Docs said not broken. Crazy night."
UFC president Dana White praised Pearson for fighting even though he had a badly injured foot. He commended Pearson for toughing out an event that had already taken a major hit to its main event. Gegard Mousasi fought for Alexander Gustafsson's training partner Ilir Latifi when Gustafsson sustained a cut that forced him out of the fight just days before the event.
"He breaks his foot in the back, doesn't tell anybody, goes out and fights, and ended up knocking out Ryan Couture," said White. "So, much respect to him."
Pearson was appreciative of White's compliments, tweeting "@danawhite thanks for the kind words! Pulling out was never an option I'm here to fight, honored to be a part of @ufc."
Reference: Yahoo Sports and ESPN UK
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