Although Derrick Lewis was cleared to fight by doctors, coach Bob Perez says ‘The Black Beast’ was unable to train for Junior dos Santos due to a crippling knee injury.
Helen Yee of NBC Sports was first to report the injury on Sunday.
Spoke to sources in Derrick Lewis’ camp who tell me Derrick came in w torn meniscus, ACL & MCL from a month ago. Lewis refused to pull from fight. That's why Bob told him to finish after the first round. It wasn't just his stomach. Knee was giving out. What a warrior #UFCWichita— Helen Yee (@HelenYeeSports) March 10, 2019
Lewis was knocked out in the second round and, rather than credit dos Santos for the win, Perez blamed Lewis’ knee injury for the way things unfolded at UFC Fight Night 146 in Wichita, Kansas.
“He wasn’t gonna pull [from the fight] anyway,” Perez said of Lewis, per MMA Fighting’s Marc Raimondi. “That being said, training for this camp was really bad. He couldn’t do anything, honestly.
“We couldn’t really do anything. From Feb. 12 to the fight, he couldn’t run. I basically was able to hold mitts for him and he was able to swim and do a seated, stationary bike. He could not train.”
Dos Santos landed a devastating spinning back kick to the body in the first round, but Perez says he was more concerned about Lewis’ ‘shot knee.’
“I knew he was hurt to the belly, but I didn’t know the extent of that, because Travis [Browne] actually broke his ribs,” Perez said. “Derrick was like, ‘I had to take a crap.’ No, two ribs were broken. So in my head, the ribs are broken again. I knew the knee was shot, I could tell by his movement that he just wasn’t there. He actually held the knee a couple times.
“So I’m like, ‘Dude, we’ve gotta finish now.’ If it would have gone into the third, I don’t think he could have even supported his weight. Backstage [after the fight], man, he was in a wheelchair. The leg was completely locked out. We really need to figure out what’s going on. No fighter is completely 100 percent, but he was definitely beaten up going into this fight.”
UFC on ESPN+ 4 marked Lewis’ second consecutive loss, and the Louisianan is now 3-3 in his last six. Prior to the Junior dos Santos bout, Lewis was submitted by reigning heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 230.