You ever noticed a big long scar on Yoel Romero’s neck that starts from the back of the head and goes till his 7th cervical vertebrae?
Right before his UFC career an accident occured with Yoel that could have turned his MMA career right in another direction.
In 2018 he appeared on, back then, Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour show and told the story:
⚡️Yoel: I think it started from the trainings in Germany. So, after the fight with Rafael Feijao (Cavalcante) in 2011..
⚡️Ariel: When he knocked you out?
⚡️Yoel: Yeah. Little by little (shows with his hands the accumulation effect of all injuries on his neck). And when I trained in Coconut Creek, I did something and I felt *crack* in my neck.
But I felt nothing else. So, coaches said we have 2 minutes for rest. When I sat, my partner was coming from behind. And saw something like this (shows a massive hump on his neck)
I say “What happened?”
He said: “Your neck!”
I felt little pain, but had no idea what it was.
He said “You have to go see the doctor!”
When I went to the shower, I felt that I can’t move, my hands (numbness), I can’t move my head. My C4 (4th cervical vertebrae) was broken.
And my traps (trapezius muscles around the neck) are very big. That’s what saved me.
⚡️Ariel: Woah, so, if that happened to me I would be dead, probably?
⚡️Yoel: Yeah. That’s what doctor said. If to normal people happened something like this, they die or paralyze.
So, the best doctor in Miami says me: “you need to know what happened”
He explained me everything, and he said I can be totally paralyzed. And I need a surgery. Because if one day somebody calls you
“Hey, Yoel” and I turn my head then *Crack!* It’s broken.
And he said I can’t fight. I said make me fight! And he said “No, Your career is done.”
I went to another doctor and he said the same. He said, we do surgery first, and then after recovery we’ll decide and say to the UFC if you can fight. I did the surgery, they said you need minimum 8 months to recover. For 4 months I couldn’t go to bed, I only sat.
And in 2013, when Romero was 36, he made his UFC debut and went on the 8-fight win-streak.