Holm will try to make thumb injury a blessing in disguise

August 6, 2016

LAGUNA PUEBLO ? Holly Holm remembers the punch that shattered her left thumb, though she’s not sure in what round the injury occurred.

“I just thought it was jammed really bad, and thought, ‘That’s really gonna hurt later,’” Holm said Friday after attending the weigh-in for tonight’s MMA card at Route 66 Casino Hotel.

For Holm, the big hurt was her loss by unanimous decision to Valentina Shevchenko on July 23 in Chicago. The broken thumb, she said, played no role in her defeat that night.

“There’s no excuses,” she said. “There were a lot of things that I just wasn’t performing in that fight. ... (The thumb) isn’t the reason I lost. I didn’t perform well that night, and, really, that’s all there is to it.”

After the fight, the thumb was swollen. Holm didn’t immediately seek medical attention, waiting for the swelling to go down. When it didn’t, she went to New Mexico Orthopaedics for an examination.

After X-rays were taken, there was a lengthy delay. “I thought, ‘They’re kind of waiting on this, so it’s probably worse than I thought,’” she said.

It was. The thumb had essentially been detached from the rest of her hand.

Holm underwent successful surgery Wednesday morning and faces a rehabilitation period of six to eight weeks before she can resume training. The former UFC bantamweight champion is not expected back in the octagon until November at the earliest.

She won’t call the injury a blessing in disguise, but said she’ll try to make it so.

After winning her first 10 MMA fights, including her momentous upset of Ronda Rousey for the UFC title in November, she’s had back-to-back losses against Miesha Tate and Shevchenko.

“I was pushing pretty hard through the last couple of fights, and maybe that took a toll, not just physically but mentally,” she said. “I always like to stay active, so I’ll take each challenge as it comes, and right now this is the challenge.”

She’ll have to be careful, she said, to not disturb the pins inserted into her thumb.

“I have pins in there that are exposed (beneath the bandaging),” she said. “It’s not like an incision that, once it scabs over, you’re fine. I need to be careful with how dirty I get it and things like that, because it’s an exposed wound in a way.”

But the procedure for which she opted, she believes, will speed the recovery process.

″(It was) a little less invasive,” she said, “not cutting through all the muscles to get in there. ... (The pins) are kind of sticking out of the skin, but then they can just pull them out, so I feel that’s the better option. I told them whatever they think is fastest, easiest and best.

“I want it to heal correctly. That’s the main thing.”

She also was relieved to learn there was no ligament damage.

Holm said she’ll use the time off to catch up with commitments that she’d postponed because of her focus on MMA. Since the victory over Rousey, her professional life has been a whirlwind.

“I have a lot of things (to catch up with) in every aspect of my life,” she said.

RUMBLE ON ROUTE 66: Albuquerque’s Isaac Vallie-Flagg (15-7) weighed in at 160 pounds Friday for tonight’s main event against Oklahoma City’s Jonathan Gary (11-6).

The bout was scheduled to be contested at the 155-pound lightweight limit, but promoter Lenny Fresquez said the weight disparity ? Gary weighed in at 155.8 ? was successfully negotiated.

Albuquerque’s Conrad Padilla (6-2) weighed in at 145.8 pounds for his featherweight semi-main event against Cody Walker (7-4) of Laguna Hills, Calif.


MMA: Isaac Vallie-Flagg vs. Jonathan Gary, 7 p.m. Route 66 Casino Hotel. Tickets: $30-$200, holdmyticket.com