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Trevin Giles explains to critics, Dana White why he really fainted at UFC Vegas 5

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Despite going 2-0 in 2020, Trevin Giles had quite the roller coaster of a year.

In February, Giles was scheduled to face Antonio Arroyo at UFC 247 before Arroyo fell ill after weigh-ins and was forced to withdraw from the matchup. James Krause stepped in on a day’s notice and the two competed in the event’s Fight of the Night, which Giles won in a highly debated split decision.

Giles would go on to stop Bevon Lewis in the third round in November at UFC Vegas 13 to cap off the unbeaten year. Sandwiched in-between those two victories was a strange situation at UFC Vegas 5. Giles, who will face Roman Dolidze this Saturday at UFC Vegas 22, was scheduled to face Kevin Holland at the APEX in August. Right before the fighters were set to make the walk, Giles fainted backstage and the fight was cancelled.

It turned out that the reason for the fainting was due to irregularities with his heart.

“It was scary,” Giles told MMA Fighting while appearing on What the Heck. “Anytime something happens and it threatens not just your career, when you start talking about your life, I had a bunch of weird people [and] for some reason, it’s more entertaining for them to feel like I was afraid so I fainted and it was some kind of way for me to get out of the fight. I don’t know.

“But just hearing that, I didn’t know what was going on. I just saw everybody around me and they had funny looks on their faces. Once I came to, I felt fine and I didn’t know what happened. I knew damn well Holland didn’t knock me out. I didn’t know if the fight was over or something. I ended up getting transported to the hospital and a few nurses were around me and they started looking at me funny. The doctor told me my heart stopped for a decent period of time. Apparently I was talking to one of my coaches while my heart had stopped.

“I spent the night there, they said it happened a couple more times overnight and then it stopped happening. I don’t know what it was but when stuff like that happens, you think about your career and—more than anything—your family. I didn’t know if my life was gonna change after that but I haven’t had any issues since. I’m gonna keep going.”

When the night wrapped, UFC president Dana White arrived to the post-fight press conference and was asked if he had heard anything in regards to why the fainting happened. At the time, the reasoning wasn’t truly known, but according to White and staff doctors, it was initially chalked up to anxiety.

“I think that the doctors think that tonight his anxiety went through the roof and he fainted,” White told reporters after UFC Vegas 5. “That was one of those fights that I picked to be ‘If you don’t know, now you know’ [kind of] fights and there’s a lot of pressure. Who knows what he was dealing with.”

With the narrative out there that, perhaps, the pressures of fighting got the best of Giles, it led to more critics getting on the Houston native thinking he was ducking Holland, or that he was “too scared” to fight the surging middleweight contender. Giles can’t control narratives, but he admits it was tough for him to see those reactions from fans.

“It’s annoying, man, and you need to understand that these people aren’t in your position,” Giles explained. “These same people, if they could watch what happened to me and say I’m scared or what not, the reason why you don’t see fighters saying stuff like that is that they actually have to fight. If they have to fight next week, they don’t want to be talking right now and then got knocked unconscious by someone next week. It’s just real, and a lot of fighters know that things happen because we go through a lot.

“But it’s extremely annoying. Before I made it to the UFC, I was 9-0 with all finishes but one. I was finishing everybody. Then I came into the UFC and got two finishes, knockout finishes. Then I stopped going to the police academy, came back, took a couple of losses and now everybody forgets everything. Or, if you have a heart problem, they can know you have a heart problem, but it’s just more entertaining if I was scared.

“People say things, even Dana will say stuff. He’s a civilian, too. It’s not like he’s getting out there and putting anything on the line. He says stuff, too. He basically led towards me being scared. He’s like, ‘Oh, these are big events, some of these guys can handle it, some of these guys can’t,’ so he’ll say stuff like that. So when fans hear stuff like that and it’s coming from Dana, it’s like, ‘Oh, well Dana is saying it.’ Like for some reason he has some credibility there when he’s never had to lace up and do the job.

“Holland was talking, too. I think he said I held my breath or something like that to get out of the fight. He made it clear that he was upset the fight didn’t happen, so I won’t go too much into that. When people hear that, it become an entertaining thing to keep it going. Like, he was scared, right? I guess it’s more fun than me having heart issues.”

There’s been no official reason given to why Giles had heart issues on that night in Las Vegas, but he hasn’t dealt with any irregularities since then. He bounced back and returned three months later to earn his third UFC finish over Lewis.

“You can’t stop life from happening to you,” Giles explained. “Sometimes you go through these rough patches but you need to have enough faith to know these things are gonna come together. When I had that fight, and everything came together the way it needed to, it felt good. It makes you understand how important it is not to quit and not hand your head down.

“Stuff happened, and it is what it is, but when I finished him the way that I did, it did feel good and I feel like I got some momentum behind me now.”

The 2021 fighting campaign for the Houston police officer begins this Saturday and it comes with a small speed bump along the way. Giles was scheduled to face Dricus Du Plessis before visa issues forced the former KSW champion out of the fight. Stepping in on less than two weeks’ notice is Dolidze—who has competed his entire career at either 205 or heavyweight—set to make his middleweight debut.

“To be honest, I didn’t know who he was,” Giles said. “I ended up finding out I wasn’t fighting my last opponent, and then one of my coaches sent me his name and said, ‘Hey, you might want to jump on this tonight,’ so I was like like let’s do it. I started looking at film afterwards, and I didn’t know he was fighting at [205] until I watched film and saw people talking about him cutting down.

“I didn’t think much of it. I’m just glad I’m still able to fight this weekend.”

“The Problem” admits he’s a little bit concerned about Dolidze making the weight since he’s doing so for the first time on short notice, but he’s not letting that affect his approach to the fight. Dolidze has won all eight of his professional fights—including both of his octagon appearances—with seven finishes.

Giles knows he has a tough task ahead of him and he needs to mind his p’s and q’s, but is confident he’ll be able to put the undefeated Georgian-born fighter away.

“He seems to be patient so I think it’ll start off being a chess match,” Giles stated. “It’ll really just depend on what you see when you get out there but I think I’ll have the speed advantage. I think my striking is gonna be better than his and I see him trying to close the distance. I expect to catch him with some nice shots and I’ll probably finish him.

“If he’s out there and he’s sluggish, I’ll finish him at the end of the first or maybe towards the middle of the second.”