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SportsMixed Martial Arts

UFC champion Chris Weidman explains pain of hand injury and missing UFC 181

UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, from Baldwin, successfully

UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, from Baldwin, successfully defended his title against Lyoto Machida by winning a unanimous decision at UFC 175 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on July 5, 2014. Credit: Mario Gonzalez

It hurt to open the car door. To brush his teeth. To do many of life's basic tasks, let alone train for a mixed martial arts fight.

"I was so confused about this hand," UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman told Newsday Tuesday, one day after he pulled out of a planned Dec. 6 title defense against Vitor Belfort at UFC 181 because of a fractured left hand.

The pain he had felt every day since mid-June -- except for the adrenaline-filled 25 minutes of fighting on July 5 against Lyoto Machida -- was supposed to be about sprained ligaments in his left hand. It should have been gone by now.

On Monday, in Los Angeles, Weidman found out those sprained ligaments are actually a hairline fracture.

"I was really sick to my stomach about the whole thing yesterday, I was really down and upset. Today, you have to realize God has a plan," Weidman said. "I'm happy it's a break this whole time and it's something I can cast up and it'll heal."

Weidman, the undefeated champion from Baldwin, said he met with hand specialist Dr. Steven Shin at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles. Shin is a hand consultant for the Lakers, Dodgers, Angels, Kings and Anaheim Ducks. Weidman was told the hairline fracture occurred a while ago. It previously was not seen on the original and subsequent MRIs or a recent X-ray, Weidman said.

Until having his left hand put into a cast on Monday, Weidman had been taping the hand and wrist and pushing through the pain. But that pain, originally thought to be stemming from a sprain, never subsided. To the point where Weidman was just happy "to find out that I'm not crazy" about the ailing hand.

The tape didn't help in jiu-jitsu. The attempts to block it out didn't help with wrestling. And wearing "the big gloves" didn't change anything while training with Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson recently for his fight this Saturday at UFC 178. During one sparring session, Weidman's left hand was grazed lightly.

"It killed me," said Weidman, 30. "I couldn't move my hand for like three or four days."

Weidman said he expects to be in a cast for the next four to six weeks. Presuming he's medically cleared then, he expects to be ready to fight Belfort in February on the next open pay-per-view card. Weidman hasn't hit pads since before his title defense against Machida at UFC 175.

UFC 181 at Mandalay Bay is now headlined by welterweight champion Johny Hendricks' rematch with Robbie Lawler. Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis defends his title against Gilbert Melendez on the same card. Freeport's Eddie Gordon, one of Weidman's Serra-Longo teammates, is also on the card in his first fight since winning Season 19 of "The Ultimate Fighter." He'll fight Josh Samman. Levittown's Gian Villante, Weidman's close friend and longtime training partner, will fight Corey Anderson.

New York Sports