motivational spotlight: Tom Breese
Tom Breese, from Birmingham, England, is a professional MMA fighter currently fighting in the UFC’s middleweight division. His professional record is 11-1 and he is also a Blackbelt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Not too long ago, Breese was the most talked about prospect from UK.
Some athletes love the fame game - but for Breese, one of the most humble MMA fighters, he loves the technical side of MMA and the thrill of competing. He shared that while recovering from his ACL and meniscus injury, he was always searching for inspiring comebacks to motivate himself.
To help other athletes, he opens up to XCLevation about his ACL recovery experience, and advice for the road to recovery.
BE SURE TO FOLLOW TOM BREESE ON IG: @BREESEMMA
Tom Breese shares his ACL experience
ON WHAT LED HIM TO BECOME A UFC FIGHTER
I started training in MMA at 16 years old after becoming a fan from watching it on TV. I had nine amateur fights before I turned professional at 18 years old. I won the BAMMA (a big MMA organisation in the U.K.) title in my 6th pro fight and got signed by the UFC after my 7th professional fight with a record of 7-0. I’ve had 5 fights in the UFC so far and my current record is 11-1.
ON HIS ACL STORY
I tore my first ACL in my left knee during a training session. I believe it was already partially torn because when I completely tore it, I felt little pain. It was during a takedown in sparring when it happened. I used a patellar tendon graft and I was back to light MMA training after 6 months of rehab. The 2nd ACL I tore was in my right knee - this was during a grappling match again, while I was being taken down. I also tore my meniscus. This time the injury was extremely painful and I was screaming in pain.
I had a second ACL surgery with the same surgeon, Tim Spalding, who is based in Leamington Spa, England and is top class at what he does. Again, I had a patellar tendon graft and was back training 5 months post op and competed in a grappling match 7 months post-op.
ON THE HARDEST PART OF THE EXPERIENCE
The hardest part of the experience is definitely the time out from competing in the sport I love. 6-9 months is a long period to rehab an injury and it almost feels like a prison sentence when you find out you’ve torn a ACL.
ON ADVICE FOR OTHER ATHLETES RECOVERING FROM ACL INJURIES
My advice to other athletes recovering from ACL surgery is to use the recovery time to make yourself a better athlete, and not use it as a vacation. Train consistently and work around your injury. Get strong and fitter. Eat and sleep well. This will all help in your return to sport. Come back physically fitter and mentally stronger than before. Also, stay disciplined to your physiotherapist’s instructions and work with a physiotherapist that you can trust.
ON HOW BEING A UFC FIGHTER HELPED IN HIS RECOVERY
I believe being a fighter helped me a lot with the experience as my discipline and mental strength made sure I put the work in during the rehab. I also believe this injury has made me a better fighter because I focused so much on strength and conditioning during my rehab. Also, mentally, I appreciate being able to do what I do a lot more than I did prior to the injuries.
ON HIS DREAM AFTER MAKING A COMEBACK
My dream after recovery is to be a world champion in the UFC. It was my dream before, and it remains my dream. To do it after recovering from two ACL reconstructions will be even more satisfying.
Thank you Tom for sharing your experience and advice with the XCLevation community!
SPECIAL THANKS TO KEY PLAYERS IN TOM BREESE’S RECOVERY:
TIM SPALDING, SURGEON
STEVE WRIGHT, PHYSIOTHERAPIST
NEIL SIMMS, PHYSIOTHERAPIST