Junior dos Santos Escaped With a Win at UFC on FOX 13, But at What Cost?

Written by Tom Ngo
December 15th, 2014

UFC Junior Dos Santos

Last Monday, UFC color commentator Joe Rogan appeared on “The Fighter and The Kid” podcast and sent massive waves throughout the MMA community with his brutal honesty. Rogan talked to UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub, who co-hosts the popular show, about wrapping up his fighting career before his brain turns into scrambled eggs.

Schaub was viciously TKO’d just two days prior by Travis Browne and Rogan felt compelled to discuss the cold hard facts with his friend. Perhaps Rogan should have waited seven days to unleash his rant, because the beating former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos (pictured) took this past Saturday was another prime example of walking away before it’s too late.

Sure, dos Santos managed to escape with a controversial unanimous decision victory over Stipe Miocic, but it was the third time in dos Santos’ last four outings that he’s taken an abnormal amount of punishment for nearly five rounds. Two of those thrashings resulted in losses to reigning champion Cain Velasquez.

Before meeting Miocic, dos Santos claimed nobody in the division could do what Velasquez did to him. However, after ending his 14-month hiatus following his last meeting with Velasquez, Miocic delivered a significant amount of punishment against the 4.5-1 odds-on favorite.

Dos Santos just didn’t look the same as he did only four fights ago when he successfully made his first title defense in a TKO win over Frank Mir. Ring rust might have played a factor against Miocic, but what about the Velasquez factor?

Dos Santos turns 31 at the end of January. That’s still considered the prime of a professional athlete’s career, but who knows how many years Velasquez took off of dos Santos’ career with those two lengthy beat downs? What kind of long-term effects will those countless punches to the dome have on “Cigano”?

After several decades, retired football players are banding together to sue the NFL because of what concussions have done to them. Mixed martial arts is a relatively new sport, so it’s only a matter of time before this also becomes a major issue in MMA.

In fact, the ripples have already begun. UFC lightweight TJ Grant, 30, lost out on a title fight because of a concussion he suffered in training. The lingering effects of the concussion have kept him out of action for 19 months and counting.

Veteran welterweight Martin Kampmann hasn’t been back following the concussion he suffered in a knockout loss to Carlos Condit in August 2013. The 32-year-old is now the striking coach at Team Alpha Male.

Dos Santos’ last reported salary was $240,000 (half coming via win bonus) for beating Mark Hunt at UFC 160. Is it worth it?

Dos Santos once again displayed the heart of a champion on Saturday night, but he didn’t do his brain any favors.

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