Ahead of the biggest fight of his life, Fabricio Werdum almost lost his life.
In an absolutely terrifying turn of events, the UFC heavyweight No. 1 contender was poisoned by carbon monoxide by a faulty gasoline generator in Mexico recently. Werdum and the members of his team were only saved when Werdum’s brother woke up in the middle of the night and turned the generator off.
Werdum, his coach Rafael Cordeiro, his brother Felipe, former UFC fighter Renato "Babalu" Sobral and eight other coaches and sparring partners moved to Nevado de Toluca in Mexico for Werdum’s training camp ahead of his heavyweight title fight against champion Cain Velasquez at UFC 180 in Mexico City on Nov. 15.
Werdum’s plan was to get adjusted to the high altitude early, but things almost turned fatal. The first night of his camp was nearly a grave tragedy.
The doctor said that we would have died in two hours if nobody had turned that thing off.
"We were training inside the house, had dinner and went to bed," Werdum told MMA Fighting. "They didn’t tell us to turn that thing off before sleeping. I woke us in the middle of the night with a huge headache, nausea, and couldn’t get out of bed. Everyone was dizzy. My brother got out of his bed and managed to turn that thing off. We almost died from poisoning."
Werdum and his team immediately went to the hospital. All of them were vomiting and had diarrhea.
"The doctor said that we would have died in two hours if nobody had turned that thing off," Werdum said.
The Brazilian and the other 11 men have now moved to another city in Mexico, Jiquipilco, about 60 miles away from the original house in Nevado de Toluca. Werdum is now able to laugh at what was a very serious situation.
"What doesn’t kill makes you stronger," Werdum said. "That made me stronger. We’re fine now. That was a huge scare. We almost died. Imagine the headlines: ‘Werdum moves his camp to Mexico and dies with his whole team.’ We were searching for a breath of fresh air and almost died from carbon monoxide poisoning."
Werdum (18-5-1) has won four straight since returning to the UFC after a stint in Strikeforce. He beat Travis Browne by unanimous decision on FOX in April to earn the shot against Velasquez. Werdum, 37, has been a well-respected MMA heavyweight for a decade, but has never won a title.