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Chris Curtis clears up Ian Machado Garry injury controversy: ‘It was not Ian’s fault’

Chris Curtis would be fighting today were it not for a wayward injury.

“The Action Man” was scheduled to fight Anthony Hernandez today at Noche UFC before being forced to withdraw due to an injury suffered in training. It didn’t take long for fans to connect Curtis’ withdrawal to footage of the fighter being hurt in a sparring session with Ian Machado Garry, which led to the undefeated Machado Garry taking plenty of heat.

Currently on the mend, Curtis appeared on The MMA Hour to clarify that Machado Garry isn’t to blame for what happened.

“Just clearing something up, because I think Ian Garry got a lot of s*** for it,” Curtis said. “Ian wasn’t the main one responsible. The day before that I had wrestled, and I took somebody down, I took a knee to the chest when I took him down, just landed weird. So it’s kind of weird, it felt kind of odd, and I was like, whatever, I’ll deal with it.

“So Ian happened to land a kick when we were sparring, it bounced off my elbow, and it just hit that bottom rib that I hurt earlier and it separated the rib, it tore all the cartilage in my chest. It wasn’t Ian’s fault. I probably shouldn’t have sparred, but I wanted to help out. It was not Ian’s fault, guys. The guy’s good at sparring, good control, it was just a freak accident that’s probably already a little hurt.”

It was another bit of bad luck for Curtis, a 20-year pro who has slipped down the middleweight rankings during a tough stretch of fights. He has just one win in his past four outings, with his most recent fight against Nassourdine Imavov ending in a no-contest due to an accidental clash of heads.

He’ll now have to wait a while longer to get back in the win column, having recently been cleared to train again.

“I’m better,” Curtis said. “UFC insurance plan, stem cells in my chest twice a week for three weeks, so I’m feeling better. I’ve been sitting around on my ass for six weeks just kind of resting, it’s the first time in a few years I’ve just kind of had time off, so I feel good. I’m going to start practice again today, I’ve been sparring a little bit here and there.

“I’ve been afraid to grapple. So today I’m going to grapple for the first time, see how it feels, hopefully I’m good to get back into it because my life is really empty when I can’t train. It’s not great for mental health, so hopefully I can get to get back into it today.”

When Curtis returns, it may be at a more familiar weight class. Though he’s solely competed at 185 pounds since joining the UFC in 2021, Curtis was previously more well known for his welterweight exploits, and a return to the division is potentially in the cards.

“We’ve been looking at maybe 170 next year, going back to welterweight,” Curtis said. “I’ve never been a middleweight and it’s hard, it’s really hard fighting these giants. I’ve always been shorter, but now when you get close to somebody, everyone’s got 30 pounds on me, so it sucks. Maybe go back to 170, maybe make some changes at ‘85, just not sure yet.

“I may fight December, maybe, but we’ve got a kid on the way [in October], so the schedule’s kind of tricky right now.”

Curtis already has an opponent in mind. He issued a callout on social media to fellow veteran Bryan Barberena, who is amenable to the matchup.

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