It sounds like UFC Featherweight fighter José Aldo has taken too many hits to the head. After he withdrew from a fight last month with a rib injury, UFC President Dana White criticized his training methods, saying that Aldo might have avoided breaking his rib if he’d worn proper padding. Aldo fired back in a Brazilian press conference, claiming that body pads are irrelevant since he has the protection of a Higher Power.
… [Aldo] maintains that he personally never considers using the added protection in training.
“Not for me. I ask for God’s protection and I’m protected,” he said. “The closer to reality, the better for me. Protection is for the weak. We have to be closer to reality.”
The “reality” is that God didn’t prevent this broken rib. And who’s to say that body pads aren’t God’s way of protecting athletes from injury? They have a much better track record than prayer. Even Tim Tebow isn’t going to go without a helmet in a football game.
Aldo’s beliefs also haven’t shielded him against a drug-testing scandal that might be the real reason he withdrew from his scheduled July bout with Conor McGregor, who went on to defeat Aldo’s replacement, Chad Mendes and become the interim Featherweight Champion. When the Nevada State Athletic Commission sent a Drug Free Sport representative to test Aldo for performance-enhancing substances in June, a police officer who trains at Aldo’s gym interfered by accusing the DFS tester of having an improper visa.
Aldo eventually was tested via urine on June 12 and came back negative for PEDs, but the incident stirred controversy in the MMA world and prompted Aldo’s originally scheduled UFC 189 opponent, Conor McGregor, to call the UFC champ and his coach “a weasel.”
With all the troubles he’s been facing, Aldo ought to realize that relying on religion isn’t doing him any favors in his sport. If he’d stopped praying long enough to put on some pads and comply with UFC regulations, he might still have his Featherweight title. (Edit: A commenter pointed out that Aldo still technically has his title because he was injured. That’s why Mendes is only the interim champ. Our bad!)
(Image via Wikipedia)