Former Champion Tim Sylvia Says UFC Denied Financial Aid For Arm Injury Sustained During Fight

Selfie of Tim Sylvia
Tim Sylvia / Instagram

A former fighter in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Tim Sylvia, says the promotion is refusing to pay for an injury he sustained while working for them in 2004.

Sylvia suffered a significant arm break during UFC 48 — which took place June 19, 2004 — at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. During the vacant heavyweight title bout, Sylvia was matched with Frank Mir.

The fight ended 50-seconds into the first round, when Mir held Sylvia in an arm lock that Sylvia refused to tap. Referee Herb Dean ended the bout after witnessing Sylvia’s arm break.

Now, 16 years after the event, the former champion is having ongoing health issues stemming from the injury. On June 2, Sylvia took to Instagram to share two photos of his arm and to update his fans on his health.

The first image focused on Sylvia’s right arm. Two key spots that seemed to be infected could be seen, with one spot closer to the wrist and the second more toward his elbow.

Sylvia’s face and upper body appeared in the second shot, as well as the top part of his infected arm. He wore a green t-shirt and his tattoos were visible. His well-groomed beard with a reddish tinge could also be seen.

In the caption, Sylvia said that, for the past year, his arm had been an issue. He explained that the screws used to repair the bone damage were “backing out” of his arm. He also mentioned that he contacted the promotion to help with the situation, since the initial repair was paid for by the organization. However, he said they’ve left him without help.

“The UFC says it’s not there [sic] problem and will not cover it.” he wrote in the caption.

The former champion wrote that he is currently without insurance and quoted the fix at being “over” $10,000.

Moments after posting the two photos to Instagram, Sylvia recorded a video of himself cleaning the wounds on his arm with peroxide.

“Might need to do something about this pretty soon,” he said to the camera with a small laugh.

He went on to say that his surgeon contacted the UFC president, Dana White, to ask for help but was denied assistance because he’s not currently signed with them.

In a third post, Sylvia shared an x-ray taken of his arm where the plates and screws could be seen. In that caption, he clarified the locations of the screws that “have backed out” and are causing him issues.

With no insurance, Sylvia shared a GoFundMe account, set up by his fiancée, to help raise his target goal of $20,000 in hopes of being able to get his arm fixed, as detailed in MMA Junkie. According to that report, Sylvia retired from the UFC in 2015.