Fans have seen it time and again in Major League Baseball. An organization discovers a unknown diamond in the rough and polishes that talent until they shine brighter than the championship trophy they ultimately end up hoisting.
That was what Zuffa, LLC intended when they inked undefeated Yuri Villefort to a contract earlier this year. The Brazilian was set to make his Strikeforce debut last month against Travis Bush, but a devastating knee injury derailed his highly-anticipated premiere.
Thankfully for Villefort, the planet’s largest MMA promotion recently announced they were covering all medical costs for their wounded athletes. It was a procedure he desperately needed, but one the up-and-comer certainly didn’t want to pay for.
“I had to do surgery. There was no way that I could fight without surgery,” Villefort told 5thRound after blowing out his left ACL and meniscus. “Zuffa, they have been amazing with me. They helped me with all the medicals.
“I just feel blessed to fight for the best organization in the world. They helped me out a lot.”
The talented 20-year-old has aligned himself with Authentic Sports Management, which quickly formulated a makeshift team known infamously as the ‘Blackzilians.’ With stars like Rashad Evans and Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante, whom previously dealt with severe knee injuries in their accomplished careers, guiding the youngster through his darkest days, Villefort can’t wait to show his mettle.
The lightweight knows he not only has to live up to the lofty expectations his teammates have placed upon him, but he also understands he owes Zuffa a solid for picking up his hefty medical tab.
“For sure,” Villefort said of his indebtedness to Zuffa. “That’s why I’m trying to recover as fast as I can. That’s why I can’t wait to go there and kick some ass for them and show them some ‘Knockout of the Nights’ that they haven’t seen before.
“I want to give them a good show and prove everything they did for me will pay off.”
Villefort owns a perfect 6-0 resume and is hoping to return to full time training within four months. He was last seen submitting Jason Fitzhugh in June 2010.