Appearing on the latest episode of Submission Radio, Rockhold said he did everything in his power to not withdraw from the fight.
“It was a tough one to accept, but that’s why you have coaching staff and good people around you to kind of guide you in the right way,” said Rockhold.
“Man, I didn’t want to accept this fight going away. I wanted every fuckin’ inch of it. So, I tried everything I could, but unfortunately it’s just too much to work around. I gotta be able to walk into Madison Square Garden, I can’t crawl.”
Rockhold claims that his leg injury stemmed from a “misguided” surgery and dealing with his surgical wound has been “a complete nightmare”.
“The leg injury has been a fucking nightmare—a complete nightmare. It was a misinformed surgery. Unfortunately, I was misguided by a couple of doctors, and I wouldn’t say malpractice, but it was a pretty idiotic move to open me up on the blade of my shin where they did, and everything I learned thus far. It seemed like a superficial surgery, and that’s why I went ahead with it. And sure enough it’s been one of the worst things that I’ve ever dealt with in my life. So, I really can’t make any contact with it. It’s on the blade of my shin and it’s such a… like, I was in jeopardy of so many things with this leg and its repercussions if I were to go out there and this thing opened up and an infection got into the bone,” he explained.
“It’s just not worth it. I didn’t kick. The whole camp I didn’t use my left leg to kick. And so unfortunately after Vegas I got an infection on my way back home. And then as I thought the leg was doing better and it would be ready to go, it backtracked and opened up and then it was in jeopardy again. It was red, it was inflamed and it was dangerous, cause the skin has to build up.”
To make matters worse, while Rockhold tried to work around his leg injury he suffered a broken nose and a sprained knee.
“I’m trying to heal that up. And, you know, I broke my nose in a grappling exchange. I got caught with a wild elbow. And so I was working around both of those, man. It was just too many things. And then on top of that, you know, I’m switching my stance to work with that and sparring with a cage around my face, and ended up spraining my knee, trying to force that,” he said.
“So I think it was a sign in the end that I have to… I wanted to work around every angle I could, but this is, that was it. That was the last straw. And the coaches have been trying to push me out of this fight for some time, and come the sprained knee, it was a sign. I don’t think it’s much of anything. It’s gonna be two to three weeks for the knee, but everything else needs significant time to heal.”
The multitude of issues eventually forced him from the Madison Square Garden card:
“I couldn’t walk for three days. So, I mean, limping around and not being able to train, it was pretty much it. I couldn’t use my left leg, I couldn’t engage with my fuckin’ nose, and I couldn’t walk. So, between the three of them I think it was a pretty obvious choice. I needed to make a call.”
Although a return date is still up in the air, Rockhold said there is a possibility that he could return to fight at UFC 232 on Dec. 29.
“Next year. We’ll see, man. I’m in shape, I don’t want to lose (it). I’ve done so much to get to this point, and so I’m gonna honor my body, I’m gonna be on my diet and take care of my body, cross train, and I just gotta avoid contact. No contact of the leg. We’re gonna go week by week. But I’m assuming it’s gonna have at least a month of no contact. And that’s the same with the nose really. And I’m not gonna hurt my knee either. So I think a month between all these things. If I really just focus and not set myself back, I should be back in the heat of things,” he said.
“And so I think there’s a chance if something plays out, December 29th, it’s not a bad idea. And I know there’s a big card come the beginning of the year. There’s a big card I believe on ESPN or something like that back in New York. We’ll see. We’ll see how it all plays out. But I’ll be on my game, I’ll be doing my thing and I’m not looking to take much time off. I’m trying to just get through this leg, and like I said, I gotta really let this thing heal. And when I know I can trust this thing and kick with it and train with it, then I can start a training camp and commit to a fight.”