It’s hard not to feel for Cub Swanson.
The perennial UFC featherweight contender announced on social media Friday that he believes he has torn both the ACL and the meniscus in his left knee following sustaining in an injury during a grappling match with former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields at QUINTET Ultra, which took place Thursday.
Thursday, Swanson tweeted that he was “getting an MRI on my knee in the morning,” and that he was “hoping for the best.” He wrote that he “still had fun” and thanked those who had sent well wishes his way.
Swanson, 36, was part of Team WEC, one of the four promotions to be represented in QUINTET’s team vs. team grappling tournament. He faced Shields, a member of Team Strikeforce, in the opening round of the tournament.
QUINTET’s format is based on a winner-stays-on grappling ruleset, and Shields had just previously defeated Swanson’s teammate, Mark Muñoz, prior to facing the much smaller Swanson.
The WEC staple appeared to suffer an injury to his left leg in an awkward leg entanglement approximately 5 minutes and 18 seconds into the match with Shields, with his knee visibly buckling on the broadcast.
As commentators TJ DeSantis and 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu founder Eddie Bravo explained that the injury did not stem from a heel hook, a submission banned under the QUINTET ruleset, Swanson yelled in pain and frustration on the mat. A medical tech and Swanson’s teammates quickly made their way to the mat to check on Swanson, who began to probe his knee and surrounding tissue with his hands.
Swanson, whose WEC team was eliminated by Strikeforce, was later spotted standing at the event. The Shields match was Swanson’s only one, though even without an injury, he would not have advanced to face other competitors anyway.
Swanson noted on Twitter that he would be seeing a specialist on Monday.
The California native had recently snapped a four-fight losing streak, besting the highly-touted Kron Gracie by unanimous decision at UFC Tampa in October. Swanson, who earned ‘Fight of the Night’ honors for his performance against Gracie, quieted doubters who had emerged during his cold stretch and showed he could still compete at a high level despite being 37 fights and 15 years into his professional career.
It is unclear how long Swanson will be inactive following the injury, nor what, if any, procedures he will have to undergo.
Michael Fiedel is The Body Lock's deputy editor, a staff writer for FloCombat, and a Russell-Rice scholarship recipient at Vanderbilt University.