No fight is created equal; some fights are undeniably more important to an athlete’s career than others. Breakthrough performances have the power to transform a prospect to a star overnight.
They can also be the worst thing to happen to a fighter’s career.
Patrick Healy, while not the greatest lightweight fighter to ever grace the sport, is widely regarded as one of the toughest guys to make it as far as he has on sheer will and hard work alone.
Looking at the guy, it’s clear he’s an athlete, but Healy has never been one to give Adonis a run for his money. He’s just a normal dude who happens to be pretty good at this whole fighting thing.
He even managed to make it to the highest level of the sport on two separate occasions. After collecting a respectable six-fight win streak in Strikeforce, Healy finally got the call back to the UFC, after seven years and 18 fights spent outside of the sport’s premier organization.
James Andrew Miller would end up being the first of Healy’s dance partners on his return to the UFC. Miller was and is a tough assignment for anyone, let alone for Healy’s first fight back after several years away from the upper echelon of mixed martial arts.
After a back-and-forth brawl that saw Healy nearly TKO’d in the opening frame, Miller gave up his back and was choked unconscious near the end of the third round.
Just like that, Pat Healy was back.
And he’d done it against one of the lightweight division’s most perennial of contenders; though Miller was coming off a loss in their fight, he was still regarded at the time as one of the toughest assignments in the division.
Not only was Healy’s win against a top competitor, but the fracas earned both men an extra $50,000 check for their “Fight of the Night” performance. On top of that, Healy was also given another $50,000 for his “Submission of the Night” as well.
Healy was, understandably, ecstatic.
There he was, just months ago, toiling away in Strikeforce earning decisions against the Kurt Holobaugh’s of the world, only to be sky-rocketed into the public eye by choking out one of the best grapplers in the UFC.
How perfect the night must have been.
The good times didn’t last. Less than three weeks after the fight, it was revealed that Healy had failed his post-fight drug test for cannabis.
As a result of the positive test, he was forced to give up his win bonus, and both “Of the Night” checks, costing him roughly $130,000 at the end of the day.
Regardless of whether or not it should be legalized (or if fighters should even be tested for it), cannabis is unfortunately banned by every state athletic commission in the United States as of this writing. Not even Colorado or Washington State allow for fighters to have it in their system.
All it took for Healy to lose the biggest payday of his career, and have his biggest win overturned, was for him to smoke a joint a few weeks before his fight with Jim Miller.
Healy would go on to lose his next four fights consecutively, leaving his final UFC record at a dismal 0-5-1. That’s all Healy has to show for his time with Zuffa as of right now. After assembling such a head of steam going into his re-debut, “Bam Bam” lost it all because of a few nanograms of THC in his system.
That’s not to say Healy’s career as a mixed martial artist is over, by any means. In fact, he’s currently riding a three-fight winning streak, and is also the Titan FC lightweight champ, set to defend his title this Saturday against former Bellator stud Rick Hawn.
With a successful title defense this weekend, it’s not inconceivable to imagine Pat gets the call back to the UFC on Monday, something I’m sure is fresh on his mind. He’s already transitioned his training to the “Bad Mother F*cker” Ranch owned by lightweight star Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in Albuquerque, New Mexico, possibly in hopes that rubbing elbows with UFC stars will get him a similar sheen.
You just hope he’s not smoking out there at the “BMF” ranch; as Healy learned, no joint is worth your livelihood.