Bellator middleweight Jared Hess announced he will undergo knee surgery that will sideline him for up to six months.
Hess suffered the gruesome injury during the second round of the Bellator Middleweight Tournament in a fight most thought he was winning over Alexander Shlemenko. Hess sustained a third-degree tear of his lateral collateral ligament.
“The thing is I really didn’t even feel it at the time,” Hess said in his announcement. “I don’t know if it was my adrenaline, but all I could think about was trying to finish that guy.
“I had a chance to watch it on TV after the fight, and I think it really looked a lot worse than it is. It’s a bad tear, but the three other ligaments (the ACL, the PCL and the MCL) are all fine.”
Hess made it to the finals of the middleweight tournament last season but lost to Hector Lombard by TKO when he wasn’t able to continue after the fourth round due to a massive cut on his forehead. Last month Lombard predicted Hess would make the finals once again where the two would engage in a rematch for the Bellator middleweight title.
Hess said once he recovers he would like to get another shot at Shlemenko.
“The thing I’m most upset about is that, in my eyes, I was winning that fight,” Hess stated. “I’d love to get a rematch with Shlemenko once I come back.”
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney made it clear he would love to have Hess back in the organization.
“Jared Hess is really a throwback to the kind of warrior mentality that existed long ago,” Rebney said. “I can’t say enough about the character that Jared displayed in our cage last week. Immediately after his knee buckled and the referee forced Jared to sit down, he turned to me and started asking me to step in and tell the referee that he should be allowed to finish the fight.
“He did exactly the same thing last year in his championship fight against Lombard, when he argued with the doctor to let him keep fighting with a gaping cut on his head. I’m proud that Jared is a part of our organization and I am 100 percent confident that he’ll be back fighting again under the Bellator banner better than ever following his rehab.”