Edmonton welterweight Ryan (The Real Deal) Ford faces possible sanctions after admitting he stepped into the cage with a broken arm to face Jake Shields on a World Series of Fighting card last week.
Ford lost but made no apologies for going ahead with the bout after injuring the arm while sparring.
"It's something that happens in this sport when you're training," Ford said in an interview Wednesday. "It's not like we're playing ping-pong."
"Did it hurt? Yeah. You know, it's a broken bone," he added. "But could I suck it up and get in there and do all the things I needed to do? Yeah.
"It's one of those things where when you're a full-time fighter, stepping in the cage is your paycheque. You don't step in the cage, well that eight weeks of training that I just spent a bunch of money on getting ready for a fight is gone to waste. And nothing to get back from it."
Ford (22-5) took the main event fight to Shields (30-7) in the early going but lost via submission at four minutes 29 seconds of the first round Saturday at the Edmonton Expo Centre. After the fight, Ford released a video, which he said was made Oct. 2, acknowledging he had broken his ulna — one of the two long bones in the forearm — two days earlier in training.
"We're not in a sport where insurance is available where you get injured nine days, 10 days out to a fight and you get paid. It don't work like that," he said in the video. "You step into the cage, you get paid.
"It's how I feed my wife, my two kids, (how) I put a roof over their head. So the only option I have to step into that cage, put on a hell of a fight and get paid — broken arm or not."
Pat Reid, executive director of the Edmonton Combative Sports Commission, said fighters have to go through pre-fight blood work, MRIs and eye examination before going through physical testing in front of a doctor and an exercise physiologist.
Ford had to do 10 knuckle push-ups among the tests.
"You've got to do it all. I passed them all," the fighter said.
Did it hurt?
"Trust me," he said with a chuckle. "No pain, no gain, right?"
Ford also signed a statutory declaration in front of commissioner of oaths that he was fit to fight.
Reid says he has reached out to other commissions in North America, asking for their experience in such cases and what the standard sanction is.
"You can't lie on a stat dec (statutory declaration) in front of a commissioner of oaths and not expect consequences," he said in an interview
Ford says he should not face sanctions because he passed all the medicals.
"For some people, fit to fight is different," he said.
"Guys fight all the time with broken things," he added. "We're in the hurt business."
He said he tried to use other weapons in his arsenal than his right arm during the fight.
"I still went in there and put on a show for the four minutes 30 seconds that the fight lasted."
Ford is meeting his doctors Thursday to figure out the best course of action for his arm so he can fight again.
Ford had broken the same bone in July 2013 in defeating Michael Hill to win the Aggression Fighting Championship welterweight title. The break happened in the first round, with Ford fighting four more rounds rounds to get the decision.
He had a plate inserted after that fight.
Ford called the Shields fight the biggest of his career. It was also in his home town with Ford himself selling 800 tickets to friends and family.
"There was a lot on the line for this," he said.
He said some people had accused him of releasing the video as an excuse for the loss.
"I'm not a guy that makes excuses. Jake won the fight fair and square," he said.
"Did I enter the fight with a broken arm? Yes. Do I believe I was going to win that fight? One hundred per cent. I don't go into a fight thinking I'm going to lose, because if you do it's a pretty stupid thing to do."
Reid said there was no drug-testing at the card.
Ford did his training camp at the Tristar Gym in Montreal, further raising his costs.
Ford said his main coach, Firas Zahabi, did not know of his injury because he was away with other fighters. Zahabi coaches both former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and current contender Rory (Ares) MacDonald among other elite fighters.
"But my other coaches knew what the situation was," Ford said. "And they agreed with me that. They believed that I could have won that fight."
Shields, a former Strikeforce champion, fought St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight title in April 2011 before 55,724 at the Rogers Centre.