UFC star Stevie Ray ready to fight despite ongoing injury problem

Stevie Ray during a wrestling sessions. (Picture by George McLuskie)Stevie Ray during a wrestling sessions. (Picture by George McLuskie)
Stevie Ray during a wrestling sessions. (Picture by George McLuskie) | jpress
MMA star Stevie Ray says he’s ready to fight through the pain barrier to take his place amongst the UFC elite.

The Kirkcaldy cage fighter has signed a new four fight deal and has his eye on a place in the top 15 rankings, but has found his training hampered by an arthritic left knee problem which he says has plagued him “for years”.

He said: “I was due to fight on March 21st. It got cancelled because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but I had got injured and had to pull out of the fight anyway.

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My last fight was on October 26 in Singapore when I beat Michael Johnson.

“I almost had to pull out of that one but I got a cortisone injection two weeks before the fight and that helped with some of the inflammation and helped me get through the fight camp.

“But since October I’ve had a bad knee. It’s been swollen and I’ve not been able to train properly.

“If it had been a tear I could have got it fixed and got back to normal but arthritis is there forever.

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“It’s the bone obviously so I’m in constant pain when I’m training, but it’s more the after effects.

“If I go and do a hard wrestling session, say, then my knee is going to balloon up afterwards and I could be off training for three days after that.

“I have good days and bad days. I went for a 13-mile cycle this morning then did a leg circuit but now I have to wait until tomorrow to see how my knee is going to react.”

The 30-year-old lightweight says he’s considering his options in attempting to rectify the problem.

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“Before lockdown I had been due to go to Las Vegas for stem cell treatment, but I’m not sure if that would fix the problem, but there may be other solutions.

“I spoke to an orthopaedic surgeon who said an osteotomy, where they cut away some of the bone, may be able to fix it. My knee may be out of alignment so that’s why it could be giving me constant problems.”

When it comes to fighting, Ray says he will do what it takes to get in shape, and has already started his latest keep fit regime by fasting for the first time.

“If it gets to the stage that I can’t even train or fight properly I would do what I could,” he says, “though it’s not ideal when the other guy is training at 100 per cent.

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“I would make the weight for the fight then try and take the guy out in the first round!

“If I can be in weight, be in shape and the knee isn’t too swollen, then it would be fine.

“I just need to push through it and do what I can.

I’ve started by doing a 100-hour fast.

“I had an Indian takeaway - that was my treat meal! - then for the next 100 hours I didn’t eat anything.

“I did some research and found that there are a lot of health benefits from doing it.

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“So I thought, we’re in lockdown, I’m going to give this a try. My main goal just now is to lose some weight as I was almost hitting 90 kilos, so I managed to stick to it.

“It was just water, vitamins and black coffee! I lost almost six kilos doing it so now I just need to try and keep that weight off because the heavier I am, the worse it is on my knee too.”

Despite his troublesome knee, Ray remains determined to fight on, definitely fighting this year and hopefully within the next couple of months.

“I know I can fight,” he says, “I’m going to make do with what I’ve got and I’m eager to get into the top 15 this year.

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“Mentally I’m in a good place. I was down in the dumps about my knee before, feeling a bit sorry for myself, but now I’m looking at it like my knee just maybe is not going to get fixed, so I just need to train a bit smarter.

“I’ve got my motivation back to get in shape.

“I beat Johnson and he’s just fought the champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. He also knocked out Dustin Poirier who was the last guy to challenge for the title, so I’m just going to try and go for it.

“I’ll call some guys out and give it my all and aim for that top 15.”

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