For Mickey Gall, UFC 235 was the worst day of his career. Not only did he battle a grizzled veteran in Diego Sanchez, where he was finished via TKO in the second round, but he also had a battle with his own body.
Gall will look to get back in the win column when he takes on Salim Touahri at UFC on ESPN 5 on Aug. 3. The event will take place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, and it will be Gall’s first UFC fight in his home state.
Following the loss to Sanchez, Gall revealed on his Instagram account that he took on Sanchez with failing kidneys and Rhabdo, a rare condition when muscle cells burst and leak their contents into the bloodstream. According to Harvard Medical School, the most common reason one would acquire this disease is due to overtraining and quickly increasing overall intensity while working out. Common symptoms include weakness, muscle soreness, and dark or brown urine. Rhabdo can often lead to kidney failure.
It wasn’t the most pleasant of build-ups to a fight for Gall. With a big opportunity to get a win over a legend, Gall was going to fight through it, especially not being aware of the situation’s severity. Looking back, the signs were there.
“I was a little sick leading up to the last fight (with Diego Sanchez),” Gall told The Body Lock. “I looked so poor and wasn’t myself in that fight. I was really sick leading up to it. At that point, you’re just so focused on fighting that I didn’t fully notice it. There were a couple of signs but once I got into the fight, I was dead. Afterwards, I spent eight days in the hospital with kidney failure.
“I was out for a couple of weeks. I just had to get my body back because I was sick leading up to it. I dehydrated myself from everything and from the weight cut. It was just a little too much and my body shut down. I really didn’t need to spend too much time off: two weeks, a little under a month, and I was back training getting ready for the next one.”
Leading into the fight with Sanchez, Gall confidently stated that he would finish his opponent in the first round and “render him unconscious.” The mindset was already in place for the fight in Las Vegas as Gall looked to make it two straight wins following his submission victory over George Sullivan at UFC Lincoln last August. The sickness he was feeling wasn’t what put the quick finish plan in place, but it certainly didn’t help as the bout progressed with the gritty Sanchez.
“I just thought I was going to finish him in the first round,” Gall explained. “About a minute into the fight, I was definitely struggling for balance. I had no energy. One minute into the fight, right when I was getting into it, I was dead. That was pretty much it. I was just trying to breathe for the rest of the fight. (The sickness) didn’t play into the prediction. I just felt, at full strength, I would take him out in the first round.”
Bouncing back in a hometown opportunity
Standing in front of him at UFC Newark will be 29-year-old Salim Touahri. “Grizzly” will be looking for his first UFC victory after dropping his first two Octagon appearances against Warlley Alves and Keita Nakamura via decision. A polish fighter, Touahri was originally scheduled to face Zelim Imadaev at the event, but Imadaev was forced out of the bout with an injury.
With a little less than a month’s notice, Gall took the opportunity to fight in his home state and share the event with longtime coach and training partner, Jim Miller — who will face Clay Guida in the co-main event. Gall began to do his homework and feels he is prepared to get back to his winning ways.
“Yeah, I looked him up,” Gall said. “I’ve watched a couple of his fights to see what he does. At the end of the day, I’m just going to force my game and whoop his ass.”
Following the first loss of his career to Randy Brown at UFC 217 in 2017, Gall decided to mix things up with his training and ventured out to Los Angeles to work with the likes of Joe Schilling, Yves Edwards, Matt Brown and others at the MusclePharm Gym. With the New Jersey summer present, Gall is keeping his camp at home to prepare for the fight. In fact, while he was waiting to see what his next move would be, Gall was awarded his black belt in jiu-jitsu at Gracie New Jersey from longtime coach David Adiv.
There has always been a confidence in Gall that still remains despite the recent setback. He sees the fight ending on Aug. 3 with his hand raised in victory. In terms of when it will happen, Gall is mostly focused on being the best version of himself following his healthcare following UFC 235.
“I think I’ll finish him in the first or second round,” Gall said. “I’ll take him out. I don’t know exactly when but I’m just gonna go in there and fight and feel good. What is there for me to be afraid of? I’ve had to fight on my worst day. I’m going to do everything I can to have my best day. I’m gonna get in there and get a nice win. I’m just going to be me and do my thing.”
‘There’s some hard facts in this game’
Mickey Gall has been in the UFC since February 2016 when he submitted Mike Jackson in the opening round at UFC Fight Night 82. Gall would follow up with two more submissions over CM Punk and Sage Northcutt before suffering his first loss. What most folks seem to forget is that Gall, despite having six fights inside the Octagon, is still very new in the professional realm of mixed martial arts. Opportunity knocked and he answered the door after only one professional bout. There is still a lot more molding of the proverbial clay Gall needs to experience, which is something he is very aware of and embracing on a daily basis.
“You learn a lot in every one,” Gall stated. “I’m excited to go into this one… I had my first amateur fight at 22 (years old) and was in the UFC at 23. I have the talent to beat anybody in the world. Im still learning. I’m still getting the Octagon experience. I’ll get more Octagon experience right here in August. Obviously, you want to be that 10-0 phenom and get the title right away. There’s some hard facts in this game and I’m learning lessons along the way. I’m only going to get better. I don’t think I’ve even barely scratched the surface. I’m growing as a fighter leaps and bounds, still. I think I’ll continue to do so for years.”