UFC’s Jamahal Hill Tore Achilles In Basketball Game
Jamahal Hill will have to vacate the UFC light heavyweight title for the time being. After suffering a rupture in his Achilles tendon during a basketball game, part of his normal training regiment, Hill announced he would give up the belt.
Stating he will be out “a while,” the six-month champion posted on his YouTube late last week about his torn Achilles, as this is the third time in the past three years that a UFC champion, from the light heavyweight division specifically, has given up the title for one reason or another.
“If I had my choice, would I like to give up the belt?” he said. “No, I wouldn’t. You got to be consistent. I understand it’s business. The show must go on. I’m not exempt from that.”
Hill went under the knife on Wednesday, updating his YouTube on his rehab and the surgery.
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“Surgery went great,” Hill wrote on social media. “There’s no doubt I will be back and on a whole next level! I can’t wait for you to show once again nothing is impossible!!!”
Many questioned his decision to play basketball during International Fight Week in Las Vegas, but Hill responded to his critics.
“I’ve been playing basketball for my entire life,” Hill said in a video posted to his YouTube channel. “It’s a workout that I enjoy. It’s a thing that I use for cardio and to cut weight and things like that. I’ve been doing it forever. It’s just one of those things, and it just happened. So at that point, it is what it is. A ruptured Achilles can happen in a number of ways, and it just so happened to be done this way. I’ve chosen to go with the legendary and highly recommended Dr. Neal ElAttrache.”
Dr. ElAttrache is well-known for repairing sports injuries, as the biggest examples of his are “The Notorious” MMA fighter Connor McGregor in 2021 (broken tibia and fibula) and the late basketball star Kobe Bryant (torn Achilles) in 2013. He also repairs torn ACLs like MMA’s Georges St. Pierre‘s in 2011 and both ACL/MCL reconstructions for Francis Ngannou in 2022.
“He’s the same doctor that repaired Kobe Bryant’s Achilles back when he ruptured his Achilles,” Hill continued. “He’s repaired Kelsey Plum’s Achilles, and you’ve seen how she’s come back. The most notable one was the Cam Akers injury. As you know, Cam Akers ruptured his Achilles in the preseason and Dr. ElAttrache and his team were able to have Cam Akers back in five and a half months. He played in the Super Bowl. Not saying that’s the progress that I’m expecting to have, but I’m just saying I’m in the best hands possible.”
Former champion Hill beat the past light heavyweight champ Glover Teixeira at UFC 283 in January to win the title in 2023. In December 2022, champion Jiri Prochazka was supposed to fight Teixeira, but had to relinquish it due to a shoulder injury from Prochazka. UFC booked a fight for the title between former champion Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev instead at UFC 282, which ended in a split draw so there was no winner of the belt till Hill beat Teixeira a month later.
The current UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones, prior to Prochazka and Hill, vacated the belt in August 2020 with the desire to move up from light heavyweight to heavyweight. Hill appreciated Prochazka for giving up the belt instead of holding it and setting back the division last year.
“I’ll do the same,” Hill said. “Right now, the biggest thing is focusing on my recovery, focusing on getting back to 100 percent.”
Prochazka gave props to Hill for doing the same he did one year later.
@JamahalH Man, I’m so sorry, I was really looking forward to our Fight. I appreciate your release of the title. Only a person who has experienced this situation can appreciate such a thing.
Who is next?
winner Blachowicz X Pereira or ?#IAMTHECHAMPION ///\\\
— Jiri BJP Prochazka (@jiri_bjp) July 14, 2023
The 32-year-old Hill was the first Dana White‘s Contender Series alum to become a consensus UFC belt winner. The Chicago native at 12-1 (1 NC) won four in a row, winning fight-night bonuses in each of those victories, and has a 6-1 (1 NC) record in the UFC.
The UFC promised “Sweet Dreams” Hill he would get a shot at the title upon his return from injury.
“I already know I’m the real champion,” Hill said. “I’m the true champion. I can’t wait to prove it.”
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