The last four years of Todd Duffee‘s life have been challenging, to say the least. The massively-built heavyweight arrived in the UFC with a seven-second knockout of Tim Hague in August 2009, and it seemed like he was destined for great things. He wasn’t. Duffee’s dramatic debut was followed by a shocking fall-from-ahead loss against Mike Russow, his release from the UFC for making public complaints about fighter pay, a swift KO loss to Alistair Overeem, the eyebrow-raising revelation that he needs TRT, and injuries that kept him inactive through 2011.
Last year saw Duffee staging a minor comeback, with a quick win over Neil Grove at Super Fight League 2, and another first-round TKO against Philip De Fries last December in his UFC return. So why has Todd Duffee been a ghost in 2013? For one thing, he recently discovered that he suffers from a rare nerve disorder called Parsonage-Turner syndrome. As he explained on Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, the disorder has caused him debilitating pain and will put him on the shelf for at least a year:
“It felt like somebody stabbing me in my back,” Duffee said of his first encounter with Parsonage-Turner syndrome. “I kind of freaked out. Should I go to the ER? What do I do? It was that kind of pain. I just couldn’t move. I could kind of lift my shoulder to a certain extent, but I couldn’t use my hand fully. I could like pulse it, but I couldn’t close it. I couldn’t pick up anything with it or anything like that…It was scary. I’m not even going to lie to you. I was like, what is going [on]?”
After receiving his diagnosis, it took Duffee a month and a half before he could even close his right hand. As Sherdog reports, the UFC had been considering using Duffee at UFC 168, but recovery from Parsonage-Turner typically takes 18 to 24 months. The good news is, Duffee is healing ahead of schedule.
“I’ve talked to all the therapists I’ve worked with and the doctors,” Duffee said, “and they’re all very confident that I can come back inside a year.”
The 27-year-old Duffee theoretically has a lot of time left as a competitor. But after sitting out all of 2011 and 2013, he’ll have to start from the bottom once again when he returns (we hope) at the end of 2014. Get well soon, Duff Man.