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Mixed Martial Arts

WEC's Varner says video games helped get him ready to fight

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The Canadian Press
1/5/2010 5:38:37 PM
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WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner credits playing video games for helping rehab his injured hand.

The 155-pound mixed martial arts fighter broke the right index metacarpal in his hand, had two fractured bones in his left foot and a lesion in his right eye in a win over Donald (Cowboy) Cerrone in January.

The 25-year-old Varner thanks his doctor for the gaming advice.

"He told me to stay playing video games because that would strengthen everything up," he told a media conference call Tuesday.

His Xbox was on loan to fellow fighter Ryan Bader, however. But he got it back a couple of months ago, just in time for the release of "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2."

"So I've been on that non-stop pretty much," he said.

Varner, who has been out of action since the Jan. 25 Cerrone fight, defends his 155-pound championship against interim title-holder Ben (Smooth) Henderson on Sunday in Sacramento, Calif.

With Varner out injured, Henderson (10-1) won the interim title in October with a five-round decision over Cerrone.

Varner, who was ringside that night, required two sets of surgery on his hand following his showdown with bitter rival Cerrone. He acknowledges the second surgery in April was his fault, because he "was a little too active" while wearing a cast.

The bone started healing at a bad angle, making it more susceptible to breaking again. So instead of returning to action in June, he found himself back on the shelf -- this time with a plate and six screws in his hand.

Varner (16-2-2) says while the injuries took longer than expected, everything is 100 per cent today.

Former featherweight champion Urijah (The California Kid) Faber, who takes on Raphael Assuncao (14-1) in the co-main event at the Arco Arena, is also coming off hand injuries sustained in June in his second loss to Mike Brown.

Faber (22-3) broke the fourth and fifth metacarpal in his right hand in the first round. He dislocated the thumb on his other hand in the third round.

He had surgery to have two metal plates and eight screws inserted. The hand with the injured thumb was put in a cast.

"They wanted to pin it at first but they couldn't just give me no hands for a while," he said.

Faber said he cut the recovery time in half, hitting a bag in three months and ready to fight in six.

Still, life with two injured hands "sucked," he said.

"I could use four fingers on my left hand ... It was frustrating," he added.

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WHO SAYS SIZE MATTERS? -- The WEC showcases lighter weight classes, which can make for better athletes, according to several WEC fighters.

"The higher the weight goes, I think the athletic ability is a little bit diluted," said lightweight (155-pound) champ Jamie Varner. "When you get to 185, 205, heavyweights, all the true athletes are playing professional football, professional basketball and even baseball. I feel like there's nothing else for us little guys to do but to go into either nine to five or combat sports, whether it be wrestling, boxing or MMA. ...There's a huge difference in athletic ability in the lighter weights compared to the heavier weights."

Former featherweight champion Urijah Faber stands five foot six and fights at 145 pounds.

"Shaquille O'Neal is double my size. I just met him the other day for a second time . . . if I was 350 pounds and as agile and athletic as I am this size, I'd be playing basketball too. Purely because of money," Faber added with a laugh.

Mixed Martial Arts (Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

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(Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
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