Roberto Soldic was one of the biggest free agent signings in recent ONE Championship history, but his debut suffered an unfortunate ending after he absorbed a brutal groin strike early in the opening round in his fight against Murad Ramazanov that prevented him from continuing.
After conquering two divisions at his former home in KSW, Soldic anxiously awaited the chance to prove himself in ONE, but the low blow kept him from making a great first impression. Of course, none of that was his fault, and Soldic says he desperately wanted to continue but he could barely move or breathe after the knee blasted him in the groin.
The fight was declared a no contest.
“I used the same cup for 10 years — it never happened to me, even in training,” Soldic told MMA Fighting. “When a guy catches me in sparring, I’m down for one minutes, two minutes but this time it was horrible.
“The first thing when I fell down, I said I gave so much in my preparation, but I could not continue. I didn’t have legs. People don’t understand this because they don’t get hit [in the groin]. If somebody gets hit, people say to me they understand, it’s good that you make this decision, but it was hard for me. That night, I was 100 percent. I was ready.”
After he left the cage, Soldic still felt the reverberations from the low blow — and he didn’t really start to feel better until a couple of days later.
“When I tried to pee, it burned,” Soldic said. “It’s all good now. In two days, I was good, but mentally, why did this happen to me when I have to show people who I am against a very good guy? But everything happens for a reason.”
According to Soldic, the worst part about the groin strike was that the knee worsened an already existing hernia that he was dealing with prior to the fight.
Soldic says the hernia was only minor until he absorbed the punishment from the knee. But then the injury grew in size, with a bulge sticking out of his stomach that forced him to undergo surgery.
“I had an operation but I didn’t tell anyone,” Soldic revealed. “I had the surgery on my stomach, just below [for the hernia]. After that knee, I took a break for 10 days, and when I came back to wrestling, I tried for the takedown and I see this [hernia] growing very fast. I called my doctor and they said you have to do this operation before May, because it can [get worse] so I don’t want to take risks. The doctor, he made the preparation, and in two weeks, I was back on the mats. Now four weeks after this, I’m ready to give good sparring.
“What can I say? This is a brutal sport and I think my fault also with the foam cup. I used this 10 years and it was always the same cup and this never happened. This one, it hurt so bad. This was really brutal. I just said I could not fight.”
Despite the undue criticism he faced for not continuing in his debut, Soldic never made his surgery public because he wasn’t trying to earn anybody’s sympathy. Thankfully, now he’s recovered, and Soldic is more than ready to get back to work.
“Everything is good,” Soldic said. “I didn’t put this on Instagram. I don’t like to show people, I like to keep my privacy, but I have to tell this. I had this [hernia] before but it was really small. But after the fight, it grew and I cleaned this up and I’m ready now.”
Soldic hopes he can get a second chance at a better first impression in his sophomore fight as he competes on the first ever ONE Championship card in the United States, where he faces ex-welterweight champion Zebaztian Kadestam.
While he still wants to run it back with Ramazanov one day soon, Soldic was more concerned about just returning to the cage and facing whoever ONE threw at him. Kadestam was the name the promotion offered and Soldic was more than happy to accept.
“Rematch will come,” Soldic said. “People say I’m scared of him. I fight everywhere, in Russian, in Manila, the Philippines, all over Europe, everything I fight. I’m always the hometown guy. People talk sometimes. They say I’m scared of his power but I train with Dagestani [fighters] and Chechens all of my career, they’re all in Germany and when I come to the U.S. to train. It’s nothing new to me. I know what they do. It’s not my fault.
“Chatri [Sityodtong] said I made a good decision because my career is long. Why I take this risk? If he takes me down and smashes me then they say, ‘Roberto is no good.’ It’s not my fault. What can I do? I’m very sad for this, and of course, ONE Championship decides my next fight. I don’t have say. They said, ‘We have to put you in America,’ and I said, ‘Tell me the date. I don’t need to know my opponent. Any fights to get me to the belt.’ They offered me Kadestam in May. It’s going to be a great fight for me and huge in the U.S. I’m very happy I’m fighting in the U.S. and I can’t wait to show my skills in America. This is my motivation to train hard, and of course, I want to show my best.”