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Dollaway: UFC 203 elevator incident left ‘permanent damage,’ caused return to 185

‘The Doberman’ made his light heavyweight debut for the UFC last July, against Ed Herman, but despite winning the fight he’s returning to 185. And the reason? Ongoing issues with a back injury suffered in 2016.

MMA: The Ultimate Fighter-Herman vs Dollaway Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

After a streak of bad performances in 2014-15, C.B. Dollaway seemed poised to reinvent himself. The 6’2” career middleweight packed on some extra muscle with the hopes of making a run in the increasingly shallow light heavyweight division. His debut was to take place on September 10th, 2016, against Francimar Barroso at UFC 203.

Only, things didn’t work out that way.

On the day of the event, Dolloway and several other UFC fighters got stuck in an elevator at a Wyndham Hotel in Cleveland, OH. Witnesses at the time report that the lift plunged three floors before finally coming to a stop. While most of the occupants were unharmed, Dollaway was not so lucky.

‘The Doberman’ suffered a back injury in the fall. And despite recovering well enough to beat Ed Herman at the TUF Redemption Finale, ten months later, it’s an injury that’s never quite properly healed.

“There’s permanent damage,” Dollaway told MMA Fighting. “There’s no way to — it’s irreversible, essentially. I could go try to do a surgery or something, but my doctors have been like, ‘Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend it,’ because they don’t know how that’s going to turn out. So it just is what it is, you know?”

Beyond the pain, weight-loss from the time he spent recuperating is eventually why Dollaway’s decided to head back down to his original division. Maybe not permanently, but at least until he can get back to 205 in a way that’s healthy.

“It just depends if I put the size back on, which, I imagine I will,” Dollaway said of a potential return to light heavyweight. “It’s just going to take a little time. Putting on 10 or 15 pounds of muscle, it’s hard, especially with high cardio and everything we do. But yeah, I fought that fight there (in July) and I just didn’t feel the same as I did before. Like, when I had originally moved up, I felt big, strong, I feel good. Then this time when I went in there, I didn’t feel like myself at that weight, so I was like it’s probably better to go back down to middleweight.

“I just want to make sure I’m healthy,” he added. “At the end of the day, I’m not going to walk away from this sport with millions and millions of dollars, most likely, so you’ve got to make sure your body’s good when you leave the sport. I’m not going to rush back in and get permanently injured even more, so I’ve got to look out for myself a little bit.”

In the meantime, the Power MMA product has entered litigation against the hotel chain, for the injury he sustained, as a result of the elevator’s mechanical failure. Maybe if all goes well there he can still end up with a sizable chunk of change.

Dolloway faces Hector Lombard in a middleweight bout on March 3rd, at UFC 222, in Las Vegas, NV. The event is expected to be headlined by a women’s featherweight title fight between champion Cris Cyborg and challenger Yana Kunitskaya. A featherweight top contender’s bout between Frankie Edgar and Brian Ortega is set for the co-main event.

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