Jaw shattered, but he still plays the sport

PHOTO: Jaw shattered, but he still plays the sport

SINGAPORE - Vicious blows from his opponent broke his jaw in two places.

But MMA fighter Quek Kim Hock confesses that the pain did not set in until the fight had been stopped.

"I still felt I could carry on. When the fight was over I was disappointed about the defeat and my mind was solely on it.

"It didn't hit me that something was wrong until I saw blood oozing out of my mouth," he says with a chuckle.

About five months ago, Mr Quek, also known as The Hulk, had been up against Malaysia's Peter Davies in a Kuala Lumpur contest which saw the former lasting only 55 seconds, before the referee stepped in to stop the action.

The Nanyang Polytechnic student says the fracture was so severe he could see a gap between two of his teeth on the right side of his mouth.

He underwent jaw surgery and was put on a liquid-only diet for the next six weeks. When asked if he could speak post-surgery, the cheeky lad jokes: "I could talk but nobody understood me."

It took about four full months to feel "normal", but he does not feel the same as before, he says. The fractures meant doctors had to insert plates and screws to hold his jaw together.

Mr Quek participated in his first professional fight after about three months of training. Then, he emerged the winner in the bout against US MMA fighter Major Overall.

This is the first serious injury he has suffered and one which he considers a "freak accident". "What happened to Shahril... and to me... they're not common. It doesn't happen every day," he says.

The two met while training at the gym, but they did not know each other very well, he says. "I didn't talk that much to him, but my impression is that he was a kind person and very willing to listen and learn.

"He was up and coming, so to hear that this has happened to him was very shocking for me," he says. Although his doctor has not certified him fit to spar, Mr Quek has returned to "light training". The sport carries a certain risk which he got a taste of first-hand, he admits.

But he is not ruling out a return to the MMA fighting scene.

"At first I joined just to lose weight, then I started to get fond of it.

"Losing is bad, but when you win you don't want to stop. It's hard to stay away... it gets a little addictive," he says with a grin.

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