Texas is the greatest state in the country you’re a NRA cardholding conservative republican who goes to church every Sunday. Without the Lone Star State, we would never have been exposed to one of the greatest fights in fast food history. Texas is also a state known for bending over backwards for patriotic veterans. Jorge De Leon is one such American who served his country bravely in Afghanistan. Sadly, in 2004 a landmine detonation forced the amputation of one of his legs. Advanced prosthetic technology has gifted Jorge a new limb so sophisticated, it’s helped him finish a marathon, rock-climb, skydive, and compete in a full rules MMA bout.
Before you start scratching your head and wondering how that’s going to work or who would sanction such a thing, it’s important to note that Jorge didn’t go into the cage that day to prove he’s the next Bobby Green, instead, he wanted to make a broader statement that despite his disability, he’s still completely capable of doing anything. The fighters both agreed to avoid contact with the prosthetic limb (a rule that was adhered to) but once the bell rang, the next 80 seconds resulted in an uphill battle for the intrepid veteran. Eventually the fight was stopped, ending in a TKO loss via submission due to strikes. Regardless of having his face rearranged like a Mr. Potato Head toy, Jorge stood up, waved to the crowd, thanked his opponent for taking the fight, and received one of the longest standing ovations in MMA history.
“He kneed me in the ribs. That hurt. Then he knocked me out with a punch. It was great.”
Reflecting upon the experience weeks later, Jorge added “My eye was completely closed, I had a broken nose and, of course, my ribs hurt,” De Leon said. Still, he added, it was a fine experience.
Right when you think this story is your inspirational tidbit of the day that inspires people of all ages to strive for greatness, the Texas sanctioning body steals the jam right out of De Leon’s doughnut. Turns out that ten days prior to his bout, Texas state regulators sent the promoter a letter concluding ‘De Leon’s leg violated the rule prohibiting fighters from wearing metal accessories’ According to Susan Stanford, a spokeswoman for the agency, the leg would fall under ‘other object’ in the Texas state regulator code.
But the real issue, she added, was safety — not just for an opponent who might get kicked by De Leon’s titanium and plastic leg, but for De Leon himself.
“If he lost his balance, he could’ve hit his head“
Losing your balance and hitting your head is a risk you’d assume most fighters prepare to sustain when they ink their names across a combat-contract, but Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation sees things differently, and they are now fining the promotion $5500 for allowing this contest to take place. When interviewed, promoter Chip Thomsburg said:
“Our position was, if you’re training for at least 60 days, medically cleared and we feel you can compete in a safe manner, we’re going to accommodate you.”
Thornsburg, who has had brushes with the department before, claimed a misunderstanding. Besides, he said that he wasn’t going to ‘pull the plug on a fighter that’s been training for seven months’.
When asked if he planed to pay the fine, Thomsburg replied simply ‘not interested’. A judge has heard both sides of the argument and is expected to render a decision at some point this summer.
Props to Chip Thomsburg for being responsible enough to make sure that Jorge was serious about understanding what he was getting himself into prior to allowing him to compete (and making sure both fighters knew that the prosthetic leg was not to be utilized as neither a weapon or a target for each respective combatant). Additional props to Jorge De Leon for getting in there, pursuing his dreams, and proving he’s too raw for MMA in Texas. [Source]