Farid Basharat may not believe in bad luck, but the weeks leading up to his fight on the UFC’s Contender Series likely had him questioning if there was a dark cloud hanging over his head.
Originally signed to debut on Contender Series this past July, Basharat was pulled from his scheduled appearance after his opponent William Souza failed to make weight and the bout was scrapped. He was then rescheduled for a new date five weeks later in September with a new opponent in Allan Begosso.
With two weeks left until the fight, Basharat’s biggest concern at the time was getting back down to the bantamweight limit — but his worries multiplied exponentially after he suffered an injury during a training session.
“That was such a crazy camp,” Basharat told MMA Fighting. It was also my first sparring session since my fight with the MMA Fighting. Because I had a multitude of different issues — a chest infection, and I couldn’t spar for a while. And then on my first spar back, it was that spar — I was doing great, it’s the first round and I get taken down, and as I post out, my arm just locks up completely and just cracks.
“The tendon tore off the bone completely. It was obvious that something wasn’t right. I felt pain before, but this was different. My arm couldn’t be moved. My elbow ballooned up.”
When the injury occurred, Basharat knew it was serious, but he also refused to let it stop him from getting ready for his fight with a potential UFC contract on the line.
“Not for a second did I think I was going to pull out of the fight,” Basharat said. “I worried about my weight gain. I put my arm inside my shorts and I just started running on the treadmill straight after I got injured.
” That’s it. It was impossible for me to be rejected in achieving my goal of getting the contract. Javid [Basharat],, my brother, said that I should go immediately to get some ice as soon as I was injured. We were in Xtreme Couture, he brought me ice and he said let’s go to the [UFC Performance Institute] and maybe somebody can check it out over there. I replied, “OK, I’ll just lose weight first.” I ran for about an hour on the treadmill, then I headed to the P.I. to check it out.”
Basharat avoided going to the doctor because as much as he knew something was really wrong with his elbow, he didn’t want to get a diagnosis that might force him to delay his fight on Contender Series.
Once the swelling subsided, he was able to get back into training again, but he was basically doing everything with only one arm.
“The next couple of weeks was literally just me making weight,” Basharat said. “Icing my arm and making weight. Icing my arm and jogging. Icing my arm and bicycle. Fight day, I had to do a two-hour warmup just because I was so sore. I didn’t grapple, I didn’t hit pads. The first time I actually hit a pad or hit a target was in the warmup for that Contender Series fight.
“I did a crazy long warmup, and then even in Round 1, it was still sore. Towards the end of Round 1 and into Round 2, adrenaline had kicked in and I wasn’t feeling much.”
Basharat ultimately secured a unanimous decision win in the fight, and just as he had hoped, the reward was his UFC contract.
Afterward, Basharat immediately shifted his attention towards his brother Javid, who was already competing in the UFC with his next fight booked just a few days later. It was during that training session on Wednesday — just 24 hours after his own fight — that Basharat began to realize the severity of his injury.
“I fought on Tuesday, Javid fought on Saturday,” Basharat said. “I was moving around with Javid — and this is funny actually, it was Wednesday and Javid was doing his stuff in the cage at the P.I. Then he kind of takes me down and I could have posted out but I just fell on my back.
“He goes, ‘Stop being such a wuss, give me a proper fight!’ I was like, ‘Bro, I’m serious, my arm is done. I would if I could but my arm is just giving out, it’s too painful.’ He goes, ‘No, you’re just being a wuss!’ Then a couple of weeks later, I get an MRI. The MCL ligament that connects my elbow to the shoulder was removed completely. The doctors were shocked that I was able to fight with this injury and had me undergo surgery immediately. Doctors were shocked at how hard I battled with this injury .”
Although it wasn’t the ideal situation to get his UFC contract — Basharat didn’t want to give up on his fight — but the risk paid off.
He spent two months recovering and rehabbing from his elbow surgery, as he waited anxiously for the chance to compete in the UFC.
Now as he prepares to debut at UFC 285, Basharat is finally healthy with a desire to show what he’s capable of with two arms this time around.
” This camp went almost astonishingly well,” Basharat stated. You almost get anxious when camp is going this smoothly. But this camp has just been incredible. It feels incredible. The rest of my body feels strong. The weight cut’s been perfect.
“I came back better. Because I had been very meticulous and disciplined during recovery I recovered from surgery better. Non-stop, I watched video footage. I watched my brother train. His camp was not for me physically but from a coaching perspective. While I was still a student, I returned .”