Bryce Mitchell can laugh about it now, but it’s difficult to imagine anyone having a sense of humor about the injury he suffered this past August.
In a series of social media posts that would unsettle an iron stomach, the 24-year-old UFC featherweight shared the details of an accident that involved a drill, his scrotum, and a bloody pair of shorts. Suffice to say, fresh off of a stint on The Ultimate Fighter 27 and his first official UFC win — a majority decision nod over Tyler Diamond at the show’s finale — this wasn’t how Mitchell was looking to make headlines.
Miraculously, the damage to Mitchell has mostly been cosmetic and he was back in the gym training just three weeks after the accident occurred. Looking back, the undefeated fighter realizes how fortunate he was, and he recently spoke to MMA Fighting about the moment he thought his days were numbered.
“Here’s the best way I can describe the feeling to you: You ever gone up to the top of a rollercoaster, really it’s like the top of the hill, and you’re going really fast up that hill and then it’s straight down to the bottom? You know when you go fast down a hill in a car, your stomach drops,” Mitchell explained.
“It was like that. It was like my stomach dropped and I thought that my dick had been ripped off and my balls was gone and my stomach just dropped like it’s never dropped before. Felt like a five-gallon tank was sitting in my stomach and I just couldn’t believe it. I thought, ‘Well, shit I’m dead. I’m gonna sit here and bleed out.’ I looked down and everything was still good, so I got lucky.”
Mitchell, a native of Arkansas, is a classic do-it-yourself type. It’s the kind of attitude that’s resulted in him becoming a top prospect at 145 pounds after previously competing for the former World Series of Fighting and notable regional promotions like V3 Fights. So handling home improvements on his own is par for the course.
On Aug. 21, Mitchell was working on a trailer to prepare it for rain and hail season. The task required him to get up on a ladder so that he could put on a roof, but it wasn’t long before calamity struck. Juggling a few items, Mitchell carelessly placed a drill in an area where drills were never, ever meant to go.
“Basically what happened is I was pre-drilling some wood, trying to put some bolts through it, and I had one of those drill bits that eats through wood on it,” said Mitchell. “It’s titanium-plated, eats right through wood. Well, I stuffed that in my pants because I was holding the board and I moved and it pulled the trigger, wrapped up my nuts around that drill bit and just ripped ‘em to f*ckin’ shreds, man. Just ripped ‘em to shreds. But luckily, my testicles did not get ripped off. That was a big thing. My testicles actually wrapped up there for a minute, when it first happened I thought I lost a testicle — it would have damn near killed me, as far as I was away from the hospital, as long as the treatment took, the amount of blood that I lost. I probably would have died if the testicle would have got ripped off.
“I get to sit back and rap about it now, but man, I really f*cked up. I really, really f*cked up, and you shouldn’t put a f*ckin’ drill in your pants, it’s just not smart.”
Mitchell called his girlfriend, who later met him at the hospital, but he ended up having to drive himself there. His girlfriend’s sister happened to work at the same hospital and it became clear that word of Mitchell’s accident was going to spread through the town of Searcy fast, which may explain why he just let everyone know what happened right away.
For the scrotum injury, he received 13 stitches that would later be removed by a friend’s brother’s wife. Mitchell joked that “the worst part about the whole thing” was that he knew most of the people who were treating him.
Asked whether being in shock might have caused him to react to the situation with such levity, Mitchell answered that it likely had more to do with the fighter lifestyle.
“Fighting helps a lot too with that type of mentality because every couple of months you step into a cage with a dude trying to f*cking kill you and you really don’t know if you’re going to get your neck broke or your f*cking teeth knocked out and shit,” said Mitchell. “So with being calm in that situation, it does transfer over a lot.”
The good news is that Mitchell doesn’t appear to be suffering any lingering effects from the scrotum injury. While he’s currently juggling school and training, his plan is to return to the Octagon early next year.
“I’m completely recovered,” said Mitchell. “I’ve been in the gym about two or three weeks, just right back at it, trying to get in shape for the next fight. They said I’d probably be fighting January or February, or something like that.”
Mitchell couldn’t pinpoint an exact date for his next fight or who he expects it to be against, but he did answer a much more important question:
Did you get yourself a tool belt?
“Oh hell yeah. I’ve got a tool belt and a custom little drill holster,” said Mitchell. “That shit ain’t gonna happen again. I’ll probably hurt myself with something else, I just got a nail gun, I’ve been using a nail gun a bunch. I’ll probably hurt myself with that. As far as the drills go, I understand now to treat that drill like a weapon and keep it in a holster.
“I might hurt myself with something else, hopefully it ain’t the drill though.”