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


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


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.