The undisputed UFC featherweight fractured his rib weeks before UFC 189, when Aldo and "The Notorious" were first slated to meet, and eventually pulled out of the bout. Aldo’s camp and UFC president Dana White still disagree about his injury, with White saying doctors guaranteed his rib wasn’t broken, just bruised.
Aldo flew to Las Vegas on Monday, five days before his five-round clash with McGregor at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and his wife has decided to reveal her version of what happened before Chad Mendes was announced as a replacement at UFC 189, when Aldo and McGregor were originally set to meet..
"Aldo was really injured, there’s video of it," Vivianne Pereira, Aldo's wife, told Combate. "The guy threw a spinning kick, hit his left rib and broke it. ‘Dede’ [Andre Pederneiras, Nova Uniao head coach] called me half an hour after going to the hospital to ask me to stay calm because they didn’t know if it was broken. We didn’t want to frighten anyone because we didn’t know if he would fight or not. After a while, ‘Dede’ calls me and say it’s broken and he would need three or four weeks to get back. It was two weeks before the fight, we were desperate."
According to Pereira, the president of the UFC tried to convince Aldo to take the fight despite the injury.
"And Dana calling, talking about numbers," she said. "‘It’s millions of dollars that you are losing. You have to fight. You never made this in your life’. Junior trying everything, doing everything. But they didn’t want to announce it because who else would they put in the fight? They spent millions on the fight. How would they say he broke his rib? They didn’t want to admit, they held it back, threw that on us, and we were saying it was broken.
"The commission wouldn’t let him fight with a broken rib. He would have to do exams before the fight. We wouldn’t want to say it was broken, but there was no other way. Would we turn ourselves into liars? It was a fight. Them saying it wasn’t broken, the doctor there saying it wasn’t broken, and there was this fight."
A UFC official refuted the claims by Aldo's wife.
"Jose’s health and safety were always a priority and we worked closely with he and his team to ensure that he had access to the best medical care and consultation after sustaining the injury. We respect and understand that he could not proceed with the fight at UFC 189 due to the injury. Both fighters have now arrived in Las Vegas for this historic event, and we’re excited that UFC 194 is just days away," a UFC official said.
Aldo eventually pulled out to heal his rib, but first he went to the gym to train and see what he could do.
"We saw there was no way to fight," Pereira said. "Life isn’t only about money, it’s 10 years of a career to get there and stay on top. Staying there isn’t easy. We made a decision, I was really bad, he was shaken. There were a lot of people buying tickets, a lot of friends. He wanted to fight. We had to give them an answer on Friday. ‘I will fight’."
"He was in pain, he couldn’t move, coughing and feeling hurt," she continued. "He got up, packed his backpack and, by the time he got to the gym, ‘Dede’ asked ‘what are you doing here?’ He got ready, tried to do something and felt the pain. He cried of pain again. He couldn’t do it. He tried everything, but couldn’t do it. It was for the best to postpone and move on. It’s not going to shaken us. It was hard as hell. We suffered a lot."