SAN JOSE, Calif. – Four months later, Tim Means still can’t do anything but shake his head.
“Damn that sauna,” Means mumbled under his breath. “I kept having to pinch myself when I was watching the fights on TV. I was like, ‘There’s no way that happened.’ I didn’t go to watch fights. I came to get into a fight.”
Means was scheduled to face Abel Trujillo at this past December’s UFC on FOX 5 event. However, on the day of weigh-ins, Means channeled his inner Kevin Randleman and slipped in the sauna, knocking himself out in the process.
“I got my head on the back of the bench,” Means told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “I hit the ground, and it knocked all my wind out. I never went out, but I had like tunnel vision. I got real fuzzy, and I was like, ‘What the f— was that?’
“I sat up, and I felt like the skin on my head was getting tight. I felt my head, and I had a big knot behind my ear. I got dizzy, and I walked outside, and I guess I kind of fell on the floor on my hands and knees. I was out of it.”
Means was taken to the hospital and quickly ruled out of the contest. It was an especially tough blow to absorb when considering the bout was originally expected to take place at the infamous UFC 151 event, which was scrapped when UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones turned down a short-notice fight with Chael Sonnen.
“With the stuff from UFC 151 and then that, I had to sit and think a little bit, but I’m not a guy that’s going to get down and get depressed about stupid things,” Means said. “I got cleared and just got right back in the gym and helped my teammates get ready for their fights and just move forward. Frustration comes with everything. You just have to deal with it.”
It’s a perspective that can only come from a man who’s dealt with struggles, and Means has dealt with more than his fair share. A very noticeable five-year break in his fighting career was due to a few stints in prison as he battled drug addiction. Now clean for more than six years, Means admits it was a character-defining journey.
“I’m not embarrassed by my past, but I’m not going to hang my head low; you can hit rock-bottom” Means said. “I’ve learned some serious lessons on who are my real friends and who’s real in my life. I had to learn from that aspect. Now I get to talk to kids in our community about the meth programs and what kind of goals to set for yourself.
“If my story helps people, cool, but I’m not going out there trying to get famous or anything like that. But I understand what it’s like to get second chances – third, fourth and fifth chances. I understand struggles, and I understand messing up.”
Means (18-3-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) returns to action at Saturday’s UFC on FOX 7 event, which takes place in San Jose, Calif. Mean fights on the evening’s FX-broadcast prelims, where he faces Strikeforce import Jorge Masvidal (23-7 MMA, 0-0 UFC).
“I’ve been watching Masvidal fight for a while,” Means said. “It’s going to be a fistfight.
“I’m not looking to stand still in my career. I’m looking to move forward, and he’s in my way. I expect a fistfight.”
Fortunately for Means, there’s just three more days to go. Barring any late-notice headlining changes or sauna mishap, Means will look to build on the strength of two UFC wins and an impressive 11-fight unbeaten streak.
Surely, lightning can’t strike twice.
“I’ve got a damn helmet,” Means joked. “I’ve got floaties. I’ve got backup for the sauna.”
For more on UFC on FOX 7, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.