Sage Northcutt was planning on return to action in May, however, his tonsils had other plans.
According to Northcutt’s father, Mark, “Super Sage” got strep throat while training with Tyron Woodley prior to UFC 209. After getting sick again following a second and third round of antibiotics, a specialist informed Northcutt that he would have to get his tonsils removed. According to Mark Northcutt, his son has had strep throat flareups since his third UFC fight against Bryan Barberena.
“His tonsils were damaged from the first (strep throat illness) and had little pits or holes in them that kept harboring bacteria,” Mark Northcutt told MMA Fighting.
Northcutt’s surgery is scheduled for next week. Afterwards, he will only be able to consume food via a straw for two weeks, then another two weeks on soft foods, and then after four weeks, he’ll be able to start training again.
Northcutt, a native of Katy, Texas, was hoping to fight at UFC 211 in nearby Dallas, and the UFC was on board with that idea, as well.
“He was really bummed out and wanted to try and fight anyways,” Mark Northcutt said, “but we had to tell him it wasn’t a good idea.”
Northcutt’s public battles with strep throat famously began two days before his submission loss to Barberena in Jan. 2016 when he was forced to go to an emergency clinic in New Jersey.
"I've never felt like that ever before," Northcutt said following the loss on The MMA Hour. "Not just the breathing. It felt like I couldn't concentrate. I wasn't my normal self. I was having a real hard time hearing. Like, you can imagine if you fly on an airplane and your ears get stuffed up where they have to pop? It felt like that but times two or three, where I couldn't even hear my coaches, what they were saying. Even face-to-face, I couldn't hear anything.”
UFC president Dana White took the blame afterwards for letting Northcutt fight while sick.
"The kid really wanted to fight and I let him fight," White said. "He was sick as hell. I blew it."
Northcutt has lost two of his last three fights after starting his MMA career a perfect 7-0 (including 2-0 in the UFC). He most recently was submitted by Mickey Gall in December.
His father said he’s currently planning on returning to action in July.