Anthony Rocco Martin hospitalized with knee infection: 'The worst pain I've ever felt in my life'
Anthony Rocco Martin is currently in hospital due to a fairly dire health situation stemming from an early July knee surgery.
Martin (17-6 MMA, 9-6 UFC) suffered a torn meniscus in his unanimous decision loss to Neil Magny at UFC 250 in June. On July 6, he underwent a fairly routine knee scope procedure to help clean up the issue, but the results were anything but routine.
“Usually you’re allowed to start training with a scope or something like that after two weeks,” Martin told MMA Junkie on Monday. “I waited about two and a half weeks to train and I was like, ‘Man, I’ve got to start training because I can’t be sitting on the shelf forever.’ I’ve had four of these before so it’s not anything I haven’t experienced before and I’ve always trained like a week later. This is the longest I’ve waited, and then I trained and later that night it really started hurting and I didn’t know what was going on. It definitely wasn’t normal and I thought I must’ve aggravated it.
“I made some calls to take my mind off it and I had a couple drinks to try to get the pain to go away. The pain was not going away and it was just getting worse. So about 3:30 in the morning, I couldn’t sleep and it was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. I wouldn’t wish pain like this on anybody. I took an Uber to the ER because I couldn’t even drive or bend my leg, went in and they said I definitely have an infection.”
When he arrived at the local hospital on July 23, Martin was quickly admitted due to a 103-degree fever and “severe redness” around the knee that had surgery. Hours later, he was taken back into surgery. He’s remained in the hospital since, but the situation has only appeared to worsen as the infection has spread further up his leg and he’s currently being heavily medicated.
“About four hours later I go back into surgery and they cleaned out the entire knee and I’ve been in the hospital ever since,” Martin said. “It’s been three days or four days and I’m not sure if I’m going home. I’ve been in extreme pain where I’ve been having to dose on morphine and Lortabs, which is like hydrocodone. I do both of those, one every four hours, and one every three hours. Then it started spreading up my leg a little bit and it kept getting redder and redder. I started getting worried and I was talking to the UFC PI and I obviously saw the Alex Smith thing and worried about infections, especially when you’re talking about a knee scope that you think is a minor surgery turning into something like this where I can barely walk. They say it’s very rare on a knee scope. The doctor I used here says in 15 years he’s never had someone get an infection on a knee scope.”
Martin said that the hospital’s medical disease expert expressed “concern” about the state of his leg, but solutions are still in process. His symptoms are being monitored and he said the next step will see him placed on an invasive IV and he will be required to go on antibiotics for four to six weeks.
It’s a worrisome situation, Martin said, and the stress is only compounded by the uncertainty around his fighting career. The loss to Magny marked the final fight on his UFC contract, and despite winning five of his past seven bouts in the octagon, he’s not reached terms on a new deal.
The pandemic era of MMA has opened up opportunities for a lot of fighters to keep more active and compete multiple times in a short span. Martin said he would typically make himself available for that, but, even in the best-case scenario, it’s going to be several months before he can return to competition.
In the meantime, Martin has some fears the UFC may fill up its roster and leave him on the outside looking in once he’s finally healthy.
“Magny fight was my last fight on my contract,” Martin said. “I’m trying to get a new contract and trying to fight and it’s kind of messing up my opportunities and it’s really stressful.”