As veteran mixed martial artist Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos recovers from a horrific injury sustained in his fight against Michael Page, Bellator President Scott Coker has announced that the organization will cover all of Santos’ medical expenses. Furthermore, Coker also stated that even though Santos lost to Page, he will still receive his win bonus.
“Bellator representatives have been present with him [Santos] at the hospital throughout this process, and we are taking care of any medical bills that he incurs.” Coker told MMAjunkie. “In addition, we are going to go ahead and pay ‘Cyborg’ his win bonus to help him find a little extra comfort throughout his recovery process, which we hope is a speedy one.”
A tough fight and gruesome end
The 38-year-old Santos has been fighting since 2001, and was enthused about the idea of taking down the rising star Page. Page, who has relied on a unique kickboxing style to win 11 straight MMA matches, was the favorite going into the fight, but Santos would be the toughest challenge of Page’s career.
Santos started off strong in the first round, taking Page onto the ground and getting some good blows in. But it was all Page in the second round. Page first delivered a tough liver kick which sent Santos reeling.
Then with about 30 seconds left in the round, Santos rushed forward to attack. But Page jumped, hit Santos’ skull with a knee strike, and Santos dropped down onto the ground. The blow was so ferocious that Page did not even bother following up with additional strikes.
Then as Santos laid on the ground, Page celebrated by running the edge of the cage and grabbed a Pokémon hat and a Pokeball. He then rolled the Pokeball to Santos, in what was clearly a shout-out to the Pokémon GO craze sweeping the nation.
Extent of the injury
But a few hours after the match, Santos’ ex-wife and fellow MMA fighter Cris Cyborg posted a gruesome photo (warning: the image is graphic) showing that Santos had fractured his skull in multiple places. She also noted that Santos needed surgery urgently to prevent his brain from swelling. Cyborg started a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Santos’ surgery, and Page both wished Santos the best on Twitter and shared the GoFundMe link.
As of the time this article was written, the GoFundMe page had managed to raise over $16,000 to help Santos recover. The publicity behind this crowdfunding could have persuaded Bellator to step in and offer to pay for all of Santos’ medical expenses.
Despite the horrific injury and his age, Santos did tell ESPN that he plans to be back fighting soon. But there is no doubt that Santos will be in no condition to fight for months at least. In addition to fixing the skull, Santos will need to make sure that his brain is not critically damaged by the impact of Page’s strike.
A 2014 study showed that traumatic brain injuries occur in about one-third of all MMA fights, with much of the damage occurring in head blows after one fighter has been knocked out. If Page had attacked Santos after the final knee strike, he could have possibly made Santos’ injury much worse.
The Page-Santos fight was the most dramatic and interesting fight at Bellator 158 fight, but there were other great battles as well. Douglas Lima defeated Paul Daley via a unanimous decision as Lima was able to connect on more strikes. Francis Carmont smashed Lukasz Klinger, ending the fight by placing Klinger within a chokehold. And James Gallagher also earned a unanimous decision victory over Mike Cutting which saw both fighters trade blows.
[Photo By Jeff Chiu/AP Images]