Not much has been heard from UFC heavyweight Brandon Vera since losing to Ben Rothwell at UFC 164 in August. The bout marked Vera's return to heavyweight since dropping to light heavyweight in July of 2008. It ultimately didn't go his way as he was stopped by strikes in the third round of their bout. Controversially, however, Rothwell's tests to monitor his testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) usage indicated elevated levels of testosterone. While the bout's result was not overturned, this marked the second time in four fights Vera faced a fighter with some form of performance-enhancing issues.
Does that mean Vera is still in the UFC?
"Yeah, as far as I know," said his coach Eric Del Fierro on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani." He is back in training, but not punching yet. He actually shattered his hand again, same one that he broke in the Shogun [Rua] fight. He had a wire sticking out of his hand for about three months straight and this time I think he took those wire cables out, whatever they were. I think it's finally healing, but he's not punching yet."
According to Del Fierro, Vera is on ice temporarily. He can't do much physically and the UFC hasn't indicated what they want next for him.
"As of this date," he said, "we don't have any plans for him yet."
Brandon isn't the only Vera who trains at Alliance MMA in San Diego, California. Vera's wife, Kerry, a once accomplished MMA fighter, hasn't been heard from 2009 when she stopped Kim Couture at Strikeforce: Woodley vs. Bears.
Del Fierro says, believe it or not, Kerry is currently training and a comeback to MMA isn't out of the question.
"She's training," Del Fierro noted. "Yeah, she's training. She had some problems with her back for a while. She's doing better. Not necessarily wrestling just yet, but is grappling and striking.
"She's always had problems with her back, even before she started competing. I think it just got real bad there for a couple of months. She just took a break from fighting altogether."
The question is whether Vera is training for health or some other purpose. Del Fierro wouldn't say for sure Vera wanted to fight as soon as possible, but did not it's something the wife of the UFC heavyweight would like to do again.
"I know she wants to [fight again]. That's the thing. She really, really wants to and is trying to get back to normal, to where her back is working the way it's supposed to and she's not having any issues with it," he told Helwani. "She's still a monster when it comes to boxing and grappling.
"I'd love to have her back in there. She's awesome. She's such a fun athlete to coach. Hopefully she'll be back this year sometime."