After being “bedridden” for months and in a dark place due to a back injury, Zak Cummings is finally ready to return

By Cole Shelton - September 23, 2022

Zak Cummings has had a difficult two years to say the least.

Zak Cummings

After Cummings beat Alessio Di Chirico in August of 2020 he was offered another fight shortly after at light heavyweight. However, that bout didn’t come to fruition and he was then booked to fight Sam Alvey in April of 2021. Unfortunately for Cummings, he suffered a serious back injury in training and has been on the sidelines ever since.

“I had a bad back injury. I had my last fight and they offered me something at 205 like two weeks later and I accepted it,” Cummings said to “They went with something else and I got the Alvey offer and went out to Denver and was training. I’ve been dealing with some disc and back issues for a while and maintaining it and one day it was a lot worse than it has been. As bad as it sounds, I was going to training and I got in the car and sneezed and it floored me. It put me down, I had a really bad herniation of the disc and had to get it cut out and had a pretty big surgery. I’ve just been trying to recover and get back to training at a high level again. It’s taken a while and we are finally getting there.”

Not only did Zak Cummings need back surgery, but he says he was bedridden for months as it was painful to even move.

“I was pretty much bedridden for two almost three months after the injury happened, waiting on to see the neurosurgeon and all that and then (bedridden again) a month after surgery as well. It has been a process to get back,” Cummings explained. “A little over a year since the surgery and we are getting there.”

After being bedridden for months, Zak admits the time off put him in a very dark place.

Although Cummings couldn’t fight, which is something he has done professionally since 2007, the back injury also took its toll on his personal life. When it happened he had a three-year-old daughter and another kid on his way. He was used to playing with his daughter often but with him being bedridden everything changed.

Cummings could no longer pick up his three-year-old, let alone play with her. It took a toll on him mentally as he says he was in a dark place for a long time as he thought he would never be able to pick up or play with his kids again.

“Dude, it got dark, it got dark for a while. When the injury first happened I had a baby on the way, I had a little three-year-old girl that I couldn’t pick up,” Cummings said. “I’ve done some pretty cool stuff in this sport, been in the UFC for nine years now, was on The Ultimate Fighter, I’ve done – outside of world championships or highly-ranked – I’ve done a lot of stuff in this sport and I was very happy with my career.

“If I was done, I was okay with it. I was fine with never being able to fight again I was fine with it. But, not being able to pick up my kid, I almost lost my shit,” Cummings continued. “If this is my new normal, this is not good, I can’t play with my daughter, I can’t pick my kids up, she didn’t understand why daddy can’t pick her up. It got dark for a while. After surgery, and I was able to do that stuff, I was back to old me and I could be a dad, I could do stuff. Now, it’s looking like it’s at a point where I can compete and prove I can overcome this and compete with the best in the world.”

Once his back started to get more normal, Zak Cummings talked to his manager Jason House about getting a fight. The veteran has two fights left on his deal but all Cummings cares about is getting at least one more so he can overcome all of this and prove to himself that all the hard work was worth it.

“I’ve been talking to my management and would like to get January if I can,” Cummings concluded. “Do I take something sooner and go up to 205? I think I can handle myself at light heavyweight or do I wait a little bit longer and get back down to 185? With my style, I can compete with larger opponents… We will see how it goes, I want to get one in, no matter what. It’s something I personally have to overcome but I think if I can do it once I can for sure do it twice. But, we’ll see how the body feels. I’m not saying I’m done after one or done after two, but one for sure. I will do whatever I can to get in there one more time.”

The goal for Zak Cummings is to fight in early 2023 and when he makes the walk to the Octagon, he knows it will be an emotional moment.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


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