Credit to Eric Spicely for maintaining a positive outlook through an incredibly difficult situation. The former UFC middleweight had his contract terminated earlier this week, following a failed weight cut in preparation for a planned bout against Markus Perez on August 1st. After being removed from the event, Spicely revealed that a recent prescription for antidepressants – due in part to past head trauma suffered in the UFC – had caused his troubles on the scale. Shortly after going public with that information, the UFC released him from the promotion.
In an interview with MMA Fighting, Spicely explained the whole incident, noting that he’s struggled with depression for his entire life, but that the symptoms were exacerbated by his loss to Deron Winn in 2019. Since speaking up on the issue, however, he’s seen an outpouring of support from fans and fellow fighters. And that while he may “literally have no money” in his bank account – and can’t work in Canada, where he trains – he’s not regretting his decision to open up.
“I have no regrets,” Spicely said. “I didn’t sh-t talk the UFC. I understand what’s going on. I didn’t fulfill my contractual duties, and I can only go forward from here and be positive.”
“There’s no rhyme or reason to anything,” he explained, speaking of his release from the UFC. “I don’t think that I’m being treated unfairly. It’s a bummer, but it’s the way the cookie crumbles. It’s unfortunate. I haven’t fought in one year, I haven’t made money. I was supposed to fight in March, but the coronavirus happened and the fight got canceled, and they said they’d re-book me soon. This is the first fight they’ve re-booked me, and it’s been a hard one, for sure.”
As for what exactly went wrong with his weight cut? ‘Zebrinha’ says that the antidepressants caused him to gain weight, throwing off his normal fight week weight cut.
“I’ve been fighting for a long time, and it was just after the Deron fight, I had a concussion for so long, and I was just so depressed after, I started taking medication,” he said. “Naturally, with a lot of them, one of the side effects is you start gaining a lot of weight. It’s very hard to lose weight. So I’ve been trying to figure it out, and the weight cut just went f-cking south for the first time in my career.”
Spicely added that, since starting his new meds, “everyone saw a complete change in me and my attitude and emotions,” and that he feels “so much better.” And while he knows that the consequences of continuing his career in fighting could mean only doing further damage, “the heart wants what the heart wants.”
The Tristar trained fighter has stated that he’ll be looking to fight his way back to a UFC contract for a third time following this latest setback. He was previously released from the promotion back in 2018 following three-straight losses, but picked up back to back TKO victories outside the Octagon to secure a new contract. Given the UFC’s constant need for replacement fighters during the ongoing pandemic, who knows? A return to MMA’s biggest stage may be just around the corner.