What exactly happened to Sean O’Malley’s leg at UFC 252 is still a little unclear.
Sometime around the middle of round 1, Chito Vera landed what seemed to be a slapping low kick to the outside of Sean O’Malley’s right leg. O’Malley immediately switched stances after the kick landed. After faltering and rolling his ankle on a move shortly afterward, he showed clear signs of being unable to put any weight down on the limb at all.
A few moments later and he was crashing to the canvas, unable to maintain his balance and create effective offense at the same time. Vera pounced on him with lightening speed, cracking him with brutal shots from top control to get the fight waved off, just 20 seconds shy of the end of round 1. A mildly dazed O’Malley was left writhing in pain on the canvas as Vera celebrated his win. Eventually he was carted out of the Octagon, where reports surfaced that O’Malley may have suffered something akin to the same injury that he fell prey to against Andre Soukhamthath.
“The foot has been pretty much hurting since the fight,” O’Malley said in an interview recorded shortly after that 2018 injury. “They said it wasn’t broken, but they said I’ve got a previous fracture in there from before the fight, so I’m gonna figure out what’s wrong with it. It’s hurt pretty much nonstop, so we’ll see.”
This time, at the very least, it doesn’t sound like it’s an underlying fracture, however. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani took to Twitter shortly after O’Malley’s loss in the UFC 252 co-main event to say that he’d been told X-rays on O’Malley’s right leg have come back negative for any broken bones. However, the fighter will still need an MRI to determine if he’s suffering from ligament damage.
Update on Sean O’Malley from a source close to him:— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) August 17, 2020
“X-ray on his ankle/lower leg came back OK. No fractures but MRI is needed (once swelling goes down) to look for ligament & tendon tears. They will scan knee too. Can’t have a MRI until swelling subsided.”
No timetable yet.
O’Malley’s bout against Vera was his third since his foot injury at UFC 222 back in 2018. Alongside his recovery from that fight O’Malley underwent surgery on his right hip. He also failed a pair of drug tests for Ostarine metabolites and received two six-month suspensions. Hopefully his recovery from this latest injury will be a lot shorter, and less fraught with other perils.