Nathan Quarry is a retired martial artist. Many fans won’t know him today, which explains the relatively little amount of views this Ted Talk received. He last competed in 2010, losing to Jorge Rivera. It was a brutal defeat, one that required facial reconstruction — 13 screws and a titanium mesh became a permanent part of his face.
In fact, his septum was broken and was pouring blood into his nasal passages and throat by the end of the first round. Twenty-nine seconds later in the second round, a TKO was delivered. At the local hospital, he found out that he had multiple facial fractures and needed to go to a “better hospital.” Up until his surgery, Quarry’s face was completely numb.
That was the last chapter of his professional fighting career. It’s a brutal ending to a fighter’s career — arguably one that’s on the top of the list of “the worst injuries in the UFC.” But that’s not even the first significant drawback in his career (one that wasn’t discussed in the Ted Talk) — he had to first overcome a degenerative disc disease.
Fighters are dream chasers, people who dedicate their life to a craft. In the best scenarios, it comes with honor, money, fame, glory, and legacy. But there are many who don’t think of the sacrifices they make, the pain they endure, or what happens when they don’t stay at the top. Yes, it’s a sport of delivering pain and dealing pain — one that many will say “they know what they signed up for.” At the same time, it may be too often that they’re seen through a dehumanized lens as purely entertainment spectacle.
Many combat sport athletes are some of the toughest people out there, mentally and physically — listening to this Ted Talk may convince you of that.