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Geoff Neal discusses adversity in UFC Vegas 17 loss: ‘Couldn’t see out of my right eye for four rounds’

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Geoff Neal and Stephen Thompson
Zuffa LLC

As if having to fight one of the best welterweights in the world wasn’t enough, Geoff Neal was dealing with a litany of other issues heading into his first UFC main event.

Neal headlined UFC Vegas 17 opposite two-time title challenger Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson on Saturday and the result was a lopsided decision win for Thompson.

Late Sunday evening, Neal posted a statement on Instagram detailing some of the problems he faced in the lead-up to and during the fight, including heart problems he dealt with earlier this year, his cornermen being absent after they tested positive for COVID-19, and limited vision that affected him for the majority of the fight.

“So much adversity dealing leading up to this fight,” Neal wrote. “Sepsis, congestive heart failure, three of my corners testing positive for covid, with one of them being the General [Fortis MMA head coach] Sayif Saud, but I still made that walk and fought that fight.

“Couldn’t see out of my right eye for four rounds and still managed to hang in there with a guy who’s been kicking ass since I was, like, nine years old. I don’t know about y’all but I’m proud of me!”

Indeed, Saud’s absence was felt twice on Saturday as Neal’s teammate Alex Morono also suffered a decision loss to Anthony Pettis. Morono went on to corner Neal later in the evening.

Neal did not indicate exactly what happened to his eye, though he’s presumably referring to an ugly clash of heads that occurred at the end of round one. The accidental double foul left both fighters with cuts over their eyes that continued to bleed throughout the fight.

The loss was Neal’s first in the UFC and despite his difficulties, he made sure to credit Thompson for his performance.

“Big shoutout to [Wonderboy],” Neal wrote. “True definition of a martial artist. Never stop being you my man. And tell your pops I said thanks for the water.

“P.S. This is not an excuse [Wonderboy] is good [as f*ck].”