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Julianna Pena opens up about training incident that caused her knee injuries

Ending a months-long silence, the Ultimate Fighter winner gives her side of the story on the training incident that put her out of action with severe knee injuries.

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Esther Lin

Julianna Pena, the Ultimate Fighter 18 winner, appeared on The Jason Ellis Show (quotes transcribed by MMA Mania) and spoke for the first time on the record about the incident with Josh Gow at Sik-Jitsu Fighting Systems in Spokane, WA that forced her to pull out of her UFC 171 bout with Jessica Andrade.

Here's what Julianna had to say about the incident that prompted UFC president Dana White to publicly demand that she leave the gym immediately:

"I don't think I accidentally explained it incorrectly to [Dana White] -- I think I explained it 110 percent exactly how the story went.... What happened was, I wasn't even wearing an Ultimate Fighter shirt ... because the kid told me he thought it was an Ultimate Fighter rash guard. But, here's the thing, it's a gray rash guard, okay? It had a little UFC emblem on it. I was wearing that, I was late. So, when I got there, he was like ‘hurry up, let's go.' So, I get on the mat, I hit the clock, and he says, ‘Oh, you're wearing your Ultimate Fighter rash guard. I was like, what's that supposed to mean? ‘That you're really tough, I'm really scared.' I'm like, whatever, and we slapped hands, and a minute later, my knee was tore out.

"Normally, in the gym, when there's tons of people we start on our knees, you know there's not enough room. But, in this instance, it was just me and him on the mat. No one was there, and we slapped hands, and we started going, but right when we started going, it was like ‘Urghh!' fighting for your life, just cock strong, you know, both of us, and I was like, ‘you're not taking me down, bro.' And he wasn't, so, he was trying to take me down as much as he could. So, I had my shoulder blades up against the back wall, and he's trying to rear-naked choke me from the side of my body. It's not even close, and it pissed me off, and I'm like, be technical. Don't try to cock strong, you know? I was turning into him, and he was trying to drag me to the ground and rear-naked choke me at the same time, just trying to use all of his weight to try to drop me to the ground. So, when I turned into it, it was just the amount of force -- it just blew."

Pena's account varies significantly from the versions shared by her teammate Sam Sicilia and also that of Josh Gow himself.

Here's the full audio of the interview: