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Ilir Latifi temporarily suspended by NSAC after admitting he fought with staph infection

The UFC heavyweight made the admission in his post-fight interview with Paul Felder. 

Ilir Latifi getting his hands wrapped at UFC Vegas 61.
Ilir Latifi getting his hands wrapped at UFC Vegas 61.
Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) has temporarily suspended UFC heavyweight Ilir Latifi for revealing he fought with a staph infection at UFC Vegas 61 earlier this month.

Following his unanimous decision win over Aleksei Oleinik, Latifi told UFC color commentator Paul Felder that he got a staph infection days before he was scheduled to fight Oleinik but failed to report it to anyone.

“Even this week, you see my leg is all swollen,” said Latifi in his post-fight interview. “I didn’t even tell my coaches, but I got a staph infection two days ago. And as you can see here, my leg is all swollen. It’s an amazing sport but the margins are so small. You put in so much work and this thing happens the last day.

“Today, actually when I woke up, my leg was swollen,” continued Latifi. “I was like, ‘I can’t cancel again,’ so I had to fight like this with a fever and a staph infection. But that’s part of being a fighter.”

The NSAC chided Latifi for his ‘risky’ decision to not only fight with a staph infection, but also for failing to tell the UFC or the commission. Though apologetic for his decision, the ‘Sledgehammer’ cannot return to competition until an agreement on a punishment is reached.

In the same post-fight interview, Latifi hinted at retirement from mixed martial arts, so he may not return at all after this suspension.

“This was my last fight on my contract,” said Latifi. “I turn 40 now and I don’t know what happens after this. I wanted to say a special thanks to the UFC. It’s been an amazing run. It’s been some glorious fights and some ups and downs, but there’s [an] end ton every story. We’ll see what happens after this.”

Should he retire, Latifi leaves the sport with an overall record of 16-8 (1) and on a two-fight win streak.