C.B. Dollaway has revealed he has "permanent damage" from the elevator accident he suffered back in September 2016.
Dollaway said surgery is not an option to try to resolve the problem, per Shaun Al-Shatti of MMA Fighting. He'll make his return to the sport's middleweight division on March 3 for UFC 222, where he is set to meet Hector Lombard.
The 34-year-old was left with a back injury after being in a malfunctioning elevator at Cleveland's Wyndham Hotel. He was out of action until July last year, but Dollaway explained how the injury has left more lasting damage:
"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?"
Among the problems Dollaway faced during his recovery was weight loss, according to Al-Shatti. The fighter lost as much as "10-15 pounds."
Al-Shatti noted how the weight loss scuppered Dollaway's efforts in UFC's light heavyweight division. While he's dropping down a weight class, Dollaway still thinks he could eventually return to light heavyweight action:
"It just depends if I put the size back on, which, I imagine I will. 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."
Dollaway told Al-Shatti how he is pursuing litigation over the accident, having lost close to a year while being unable to compete. Naturally, he is mindful of being able to leave the sport in good health, despite his lasting injury woes.
However, Dollaway put those concerns aside to discuss his upcoming meeting with Lombard: "He's a buzz saw. When you go out there, you know: The first round, you better be ready to get it, because he's coming."
Dollaway believes he can outlast the older Lombard, citing the 40-year-old's lack of a "big gas tank."
Beating Lombard would be a great confidence boost for Dollaway as he seeks to rebuild a career stunted by misfortune outside the Octagon. If he proves he can handle the rigours of the middleweight divsion, a return to a higher weight class may not be too far away.