Rising star Sage Northcutt had his undefeated record come to an end on Saturday night against a late replacement opponent Bryan Barberena. Northcutt spoke with the MMA Hour on Monday and revealed that he was not himself on Saturday night (transcribed by MMA Fighting):
“Two days before my fight, I had a real bad relapse of the strep throat and I had to go to the emergency ready clinic,” Northcutt explained. “The UFC had to take me, then [a doctor] with the UFC had to write a prescription for more antibiotics, stuff like that. So I really couldn’t explain how I felt out there. I felt really horrible.”
Northcutt revealed that this was his third bout with strep throat over the past four months.
“I’ve never felt like that ever before,” Northcutt said. “Not just the breathing. It felt like I couldn’t concentrate. I wasn’t my normal self. I was having a real hard time hearing. Like, you can imagine if you fly on an airplane and your ears get stuffed up where they have to pop? It felt like that but times two or three, where I couldn’t even hear my coaches, what they were saying. Even face-to-face, I couldn’t hear anything.
“Coming up in the week for the UFC, I always try to keep a smile on my face and act like there’s nothing going on, so that way no one would know that I was even sick or anything like that. The UFC knew I was sick because I had to go to the emergency clinic. But really, I was just laying down in bed and sleeping the whole time coming into the event, besides going out and doing the media that I got do to and had to do for the UFC.”
Regarding his fight and ultimate submission to Barberena in the second round, Northcutt says his bout with strep throat played a major role in his performance.
“That’s why I wasn’t able to move the same, wasn’t able to kick the same. What I wanted to do and what I thought in my head about doing out there, I wasn’t able to actually act it out and do it because my body wasn’t able to keep up. It was like breathing through a straw. That’s what it really felt like. So down there in that position, even though it may not have been the best locked in hold, I was having such a hard time breathing that it was just as tight as what it might have been if I was in that kind of position if I wasn’t sick, if that makes sense.”
With already having a late replacement opponent, Northcutt says that he was not going to pull out of the fight at the last minute.
“With the UFC, having a fight like that and having to reschedule a last minute thing, moving up a weight class, you’re there to fight. So, that’s my job,” Northcutt said. “You don’t want to pull out of the fight when you have so many people and fans and friends, everybody, and especially the UFC being my job, to be able to go out there and fight for them, you don’t want to pull out and have that ruin the outcome of the event for the amount of people that came to support you and watch you and everything. That wouldn’t have been good, and obviously you never want to pull out of that. At least I wouldn’t. So, going out there and fighting, I thought I could do it.
“I felt like I let everybody down and let the UFC down. I let myself down.”
Will we see the young star rebound in his next fight? Share your thoughts on Northcutt’s admitted health conditions and performance in the comments!