A routine night out at a bar turned into a night of chaos for former UFC welterweight Demian Maia.
Maia’s latest Octagon appearance came at UFC 263 in a unanimous decision loss to Belal Muhammad. Despite his grappling prowess still being a problem for most fighters, the 44-year-old looked years past his physical prime in recent losses to Muhammad and Gilbert Burns.
The UFC parted ways with Maia back in August, along with former bantamweight Jimmie Rivera.
Maia is arguably one of the most universally liked and respected fighters in UFC history. He was never one to engage in trash talk during his career and let his trademark Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu do the talking for him.
But a few years ago, Maia’s life was in danger when he was attacked and stabbed, suffering serious injury. During a recent appearance on the Inteligencia Ltda podcast, Maia detailed a scuffle he got into with some alleged Middle Eastern gang members while at a bar in Sweden. (h/t Bloody Elbow)
“I’m in the corner, and like in other clubs outside Brazil, at 2 AM, they turn on the light,” Maia explained. “2 AM, all lights turned on. All the security guards went down to evacuate people and things like that. When I stood up, there were some guys from that gang there and they saw me. I think it was a small town thing. The guy came at me to attack me, but not exactly attack me. He came to push me. No reason, man. They were very messy.”
Maia initially didn’t think much of the push, but the altercation was more serious than he realized.
“They kind of ran the place. I was upset because my knee wasn’t getting better. I had hurt myself again in Sweden teaching class and stuff like that. When the guy came to put his hand on me, I threw an elbow at him. In his face,” he said. But that elbow was so hard, he didn’t fall over. He just imploded in the same place, you know. Do you know when a guy lands on his own leg? Yeah, man. He imploded. Man, by the time he fell, my first thought was, ‘God, please help me. I hope I didn’t kill this guy.’ Because it was too strong and the guy blacked out right away. I thought, ‘Imagine I killed this guy, I’m going to be f—ked, stuck in Sweden for the rest of my life.’
“F—k, no one would want to know he came to assault me,” Maia continued. “In the end, I would have killed the guy, Suddenly, I see a small guy coming up beside me quietly. All this I’m talking about was in five or six seconds, I don’t know. But very fast. The elbow, two punches. I walked backward, the guy came and hit me in the belly. This guy didn’t hit me in the belly, he stabbed me. And I knew it right away. Why did I notice? Because these guys don’t know how to fight, they’re just making trouble. If the guy isn’t a very good boxer who knows what to do, he’ll never hit you in the belly. He’ll hit the head. The guy will try to hurt you in the face. And as soon as it hit down here, I felt a knock and they ran away.”
Maia then explained what went through his mind after being stabbed.
“I had this thing in my head, ‘Can’t get air, can’t get air.’ I knew that getting air could cause embolism, and I got this paranoia. I still didn’t know if I was stabbed. I just felt the knock, but I was suspicious. When the guys ran away, I did it here. I looked over quickly and my shirt was soaked with blood.”
Maia was sent to a local hospital directly after the incident. He was treated and quickly released by medical staff.
Maia’s story shows that MMA fighters can still be the victim of vicious attacks, despite their athletic accolades. Thankfully, Maia is still alive to tell the story and continues to practice and teach the art of BJJ.
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