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Volkan Oezdemir says he suffered broken orbital, staph infection at UFC 220

Visiting athletes having really bad nights in Boston is nothing new, a fact to which the two dozen combined Celtics and Bruins championship banners hanging from the rafters of TD Garden forever attest.

But the evening Volkan Oezdemir experienced on Jan. 20 at UFC 220 was on an altogether different level than those experienced by, say, the Lakers or Canadiens.

Oezdemir lost to light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in the co-feature bout at TD Garden via second-round TKO. But he also came away from the evening with not just a broken orbital bone, but a staph infection — in three different places.

The Switzerland native got off to a fine start in his matchup with Cormier, landing heavy shots. But Cormier eventually countered with a punch that cracked Oezdemir’s right orbital bone and altered the fight’s trajectory.

“I thought the fight was going in my favor,” Oezdemir said. “I know the more I was about to connect, the more I’d be able to prove something. But then I got caught once in my eye, he broke my orbital, and then after that I think the fight starts going in his favor. He started catching up to his rhythm.”

Oezdemir opted against surgery for the injury. But it turned out to only be half his problem. Soon after the fight, he broke out in a staph infection, which he believed he contracted from dirty mats at the venue.

“I train before the fights and I guess the mats are dirty,” Oezdemir said. “I don’t know how many times they clean it, so, yeah, I got a staph infection from the fights in three different parts of my body, and that’s not fun, yeah.”

The light heavyweight contender got the staph on two spots on his stomach and another on his arm. He was hospitalized in order to get infections under control, then was sidelined several weeks.

“I had like two to three weeks of rest,” Oezdemir said. “And then I had to go slowly, step by step, watching, making sure everything is clean and I don’t do so much. It was some forced time off and I think it was for the best, because otherwise I would never take any time off. So it helped me stay away from the mats and maybe concentrate my time on something else.”

Despite what sounds like an all-around horrific experience, Oezdemir still sees the silver lining in his experience, as he gets set to meet Mauricio “Shogun” Rua on the upcoming UFC Chile card.

“I definitely learned a lot in this fight,” Oezdemir said. “I definitely learned lot of stuff, I know there is stuff I need to improve, I need to work on my strategy a lot, that is something that’s going to be different. So definitely this fight is something that is going to make a different fighter.”

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