Matt Serra hasn’t stepped into the cage in almost three years, but that doesn’t mean he’s completely officially 100% retired. Even now after a pretty serious medical issue, he’s still being a little wishy washy over hanging up his gloves:
“It’s hard to say it,” Serra told Newsday. “It’s like you can’t say it, even though it probably is true. I would love to put closure on my career with one last fight at the Garden, but at the same time, if that doesn’t happen, I definitely consider myself done. It’s hard to say the ‘R word.’ I might never say the ‘R word.’”
“I really think I’m walking away,” he said. “I’m going to be 39, I just had my rib taken out. I’m having my third kid. My schools are doing well. What am I doing, looking for another pay day? It’s not really for that. I mean, it doesn’t stink, but it’s not really for that. Am I still trying to hold on for the glory? Glory is a drug, dude. I’m telling you, that’s the problem. It really is. I know why guys can’t walk away. I absolutely get it.”
About that rib being taken out…
Serra couldn’t bend his arm. He couldn’t lift his hand to touch his neck. He got out of bed around 2 a.m. and drove to the emergency room at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola. Tests revealed two blood clots in his arm and another in his lungs.
“Then I got freaked out,” Serra said. “You don’t catch that [and] after the lung, that stops your heart or your brain. Then you’re done. I’m very fortunate to, basically, be here. Sounds kind of morbid. If I didn’t catch that — I was about to go to bed. I’m like, man, something’s not feeling right.”
Serra was put on blood thinners to address the clot in his lungs. He must now inject himself in the stomach with Lovenox, an anticoagulant, every day for the next three months.
The clots in his arm created a significant health issue as well. Serra’s collarbone and first rib were compressing a blood vessel and restricting blood flow, a condition known as thoracic outlet syndrome. Serra had the first rib on his left side removed in early May, a procedure performed by Dr. George Hines, chief of vascular surgery at Winthrop. Hines estimated that Winthrop does about six of these surgeries a year.
“It’s like taking out the floor of the whole area,” Hines said. “You remove the rib and everything drops into place.”
The procedure can take up to two hours to complete, and patients typically return home the following day.
“They had to cut me open through my armpit and cut through whatever they had to cut through and get my rib out,” Serra said. “It’s definitely strange and I’m feeling it in there.”
I wonder if that will give him more flexibility in jiu jitsu. The urban legends about Marilyn Manson’s rib removal and subsequent … improved limberness certainly implies so.
(pic by Scott Peterson for MMA Weekly)