Korean Zombie came back to the UFC from his military service like he had never left. He timed one of the most perfect uppercuts ever on Dennis Bermudez and knocked him out to get a win for his cult fans and nostalgia everywhere. After the fight, Zombie even thanked Dominick Cruz for convincing him ring rust doesn’t exist and is all in the fighter’s mind.
@DominickCruz The things that you said in your press conference about ring rust really inspired me. Thank you!
— Chan Sung Jung (@KoreanZombieMMA) February 5, 2017
…But that isn’t entirely the truth. Sure, Zombie had to work a full-time job during his military service, but this former Korean Army veteran took some time out to lay down some awesome information. Turns out, because Jose Aldo saw Zombie’s arm tweak in their last fight and kicked it into oblivion, he entered the military in a different rating system and was allowed some exceptions giving him more time to train. Props to bossamkimchi for the inside info.
Hey guys, I am a veteran of the Korean army and from reading some post-fight comments, some of you seemed to be curious about how KZ was able to train during his service.
So in Korea they do a physical check up for all men when they turn legal and are rated into 7 different categories. From rating 1~3 (from completely healthy to minor health issues such as bad eye sights), people have to serve in the military or police force for 24 months. In this case, you have limited freedom (can leave base only during vacations) and have to live in barracks.
If you receive a rating of 4 (meaning you have certain conditions that prevent you from full training and military duties), you receive just 4 weeks of basic training and then serve as a civil servant for public institutions such as public schools, community centers, courts etc.
For rating 5+ (people with serious medical issues) you are exempt from service completely.
Zombie, despite his superb athleticism, ironically, received a rating 4 due to his dislocated soldier that he incurred during the Aldo fight. As a result, he was not fully exempt from duty, but was able to live at home instead of in barracks.
After working till 5pm, he was able to train for several hours every day and full-time on weekends. In a sense, he was “lucky” to have been injured in the fight because if he lived in barracks he would not have been able to train for MMA.
What was unfortunate for KZ is that even while you are serving as a civil servant and not as a full-time soldier, you are not allowed to take part in any work for personal income or leave the country.
Hence, Zombie was not able to compete during this time in the UFC. When UFC Seoul happened, KZ actually petitioned to get permission to fight, offering to donate all of his fight money to a charity organization but got rejected.
As a fan, I am glad KZ was able to make a great return. For a lot of athletes in Korea, military services ends careers. Only those who win a medal in the Olympics or a gold medal in the Asian game are exempt from service. The only other option is if you get accepted into the Army Sports Team to serve as an athlete, but this is limited to only a few number of sports (soccer, wrestling, baseball etc.) and to the most elite athletes that can compete in the international level in their respective fields. For MMA, this option is not available.
Anyways, that got a bit wordy. Hope some people find this information helpful.
Wow, thanks to Aldo for being a ruthless son of a bitch and trying to destroy Zombie’s shoulder even more. If he hadn’t done that, he may have not been able to prove ring rust doesn’t exist… when you actually get to train that helps alot.