Featherweight phenom Aaron Pico suffered a dislocated shoulder in the opening round of his Jeremy Kennedy fight, losing by way of medical TKO at the Bellator 286 MMA event last weekend in Long Beach, Calif., snapping a six-fight win streak in the process.
Coach Brandon Gibson tried to keep Pico in the game by performing on-the-fly repairs, kind of like Martin Riggs slamming his shoulder back into place in Lethal Weapon 2. Life, sadly, did not imitate art and doctors witnessing the “violent jerks” were horrified.
“Couldn’t believe what I was watching, this could legit make things worse,” Sports medicine doctor Brian Sutterer said (transcribed by Bloody Elbow). “This was one of the wildest things I’ve seen in any sport. I got to give Pico credit, he is mad tough. I’ve dislocated my shoulder a couple of times and this is extremely painful, so extreme credit to try to get back out there.”
Turns out Gibson was just following orders.
“My orders to him were, ‘Hey, my shoulder’s out, do whatever you possibly can to put it back into place,’” Pico told his Instagram followers. “So we tried everything, and we couldn’t do it, and ultimately the fight was stopped, which was probably the smartest thing, and I was rushed to the hospital and put it back into place. I still feel like there’s some things that we need to clear up, but I’m gonna see a shoulder doctor on Tuesday and get some MRIs done and heal this thing. I will be champion one day. The road is a little bit rougher than I would like, but it’s all good. I’m in good spirits.”
Hopefully Gibson’s herky-jerky shoulder repairs didn’t inflict any further damage.
“If you attempt to reduce a joint in an incorrect way, and in such a violent manner, while your intent is good, you can actually do some pretty significant harm to that individual’s joint,” Sutterer continued. “It’s important to reduce it the right way, because there’s a lot of surrounding structures — particularly nerves and blood vessels — that can become injured, not only when you dislocate a joint, but if you try to attempt reduction in an ineffective way.”
Sutterer wasn’t the only doctor aghast at Gibson’s yank-and-crank.
“A majority of shoulder dislocations are when the ball pops out of the socket to the front or what we call an anterior dislocation,” Orthopedic sports surgeon David Abbasi added. “Although I give him an ‘A’ for effort, this is absolutely the wrong way to try and pop in an acute shoulder dislocation. Because you want to think about it as a slow, steady type of pull instead of these violent jerks.”
Bellator MMA President Scott Coker plans to lobby for an immediate rematch.