Nelson survives brutal car crash

UFC welterweight Gunnar Nelson survived a brutal car crash in
Reykjavik, Iceland on Saturday—escaping with only minor cuts
and bruises.

Nelson was traveling with friends during an outing as part of
the MMA club where both he and his father are instructors. About
two hours into the car ride, Nelson’s vehicle hit an icy patch of
road and the car swerved out of control, rolling several times down
a hill.

(Þráinn Kolbeinsson)

According to Nelson’s father Halli Nelson, who spoke to FOX
Sports on Tuesday, it was a very serious accident that could have
gone much worse.

“This happened on Saturday but we had been planning a staff
outgoing at our MMA club. I’m the CEO of the club and Gunnar
is of course one of the coaches. The plan was to go out of the city
into the countryside, have some fun and stay over night at a some
holiday cottages about two hours drive from Reykjavik,” Nelson
explained via email.

“Gunnar and one of our BJJ coaches along with two other friends
had gone ahead before the rest of us driving a pickup and Gunnar
was sitting in the passenger front seat. They were planning to meet
with us later on that day. They had been driving for about two
hours or so and when they come out of a turn the road suddenly is
icy and extremely slippery. The car slides off the road and rolls
over 3-4 times down the hill and into the river Thjorsa
(Þjórsá) but that is Iceland longest river. At very
cold glacier river that has its source in one of Iceland’s biggest
glaciers (Hofsjökull).

“The car however ends up on its wheels in the river, completely
done for, all windows gone and the roof had gone down (mostly where
Gunnar was sitting) and stopped on Gunnar’s seat. If the car
had gone one meter further into the river it would have hit deep
waters and the strong current would have taken it, and of course
then the car would probably not have ended on it’s wheels. So
they were very lucky.”

Nelson explains that where the car swerved off the road gave
them just enough room for the vehicle to land back on its wheels
and help stop the motion. A few more feet one way or the other and
the accident could have been much worse, if not fatal to any or all
of the passengers involved.

“If they had gone off road (a) few meters before or later it
would have been much worse and they would also have gone in the
river,” Nelson explained. “They crawled out of the car’s
window to get out because all the doors were of course completely
battered and unusable. All four of them got away with scratches
basically (they were all wearing seat belts) even though Gunnar had
to have about 10-11 stitches in his right arm. But he’s fine
and will be ready to start training again in a short while.

“The Icelandic police and the ambulance paramedic couldn’t
believe how lucky they were and said it was a completely beyond
understanding that they got out of this almost without a
scratch.”

The good news is all of the passengers were fine and walked away
from a potentially tragic accident unscathed. Nelson’s father said
his son is doing well and is in good spirits since the crash and is
looking forward to returning to training in the very near
future.

Then he plans to return to the UFC in the first part of 2014 to
resume his fight career.

“Gunnar will start training again soon and he’s hoping to
fight in the beginning of next year,” Nelson said in closing.