After a long run under the Zuffa banner that spanned more than seven years and sixteen fights, George Roop looked for a rebirth all the way across the globe in the ROAD Fighting Championship. However, it has not been the fairytale story most fighters would have foreseen up to this point.
Coming into his highly anticipated featherweight match back at ROAD FC 31 against the ROAD FC bantamweight kingpin Yoon-Jun Lee, most of the people in Korea and throughout Asia only knew him as the “Zombie Killer”, the name he received back at WEC 51 when he flatlined “The Korean Zombie” Chan-Sung Jung with a headkick.
With all the hype that the fight actually generated, it was a huge disappointment for the fans and fighters involved. In a freak accident, Roop had one of his kicks checked by Lee’s elbow and his leg snapped instantly.
The injury was so delicate and serious that the promotion worked quickly to get Roop the best medical treatment available.
“I was transported to the ROAD FC hospital in Wonju (1 hour east of Seoul) the next morning for surgery. The promotion had people a phone call away that would bring me anything I needed. I am very grateful for how well I was taken care of” he stated about the medical attention he received.
Even though he was being attended to very well, laying in a hospital bed in a foreign country on the other side of the world and nothing familiar around had the American homesick not too long after he got out of the operating room.
“After surgery the doctor wanted me to stay for at least four weeks to recover. I insisted that I must go home as soon as possible.”
As a result, he was on a plane home just one week after the actual surgery and the trip was brutal to say the least. Flying in an airplane for almost 24 hours can be a terrible experience for an able-bodied individual but with a gruesome leg break it must have been hell.
Once he landed and met with his family, he felt relieved to see them. With three sons and two daughters, there was always someone there to give a helping hand by fetching him anything he needed.
“My family is everything to me. I call them my tribe. And I needed a lot of their help when I got home for the first two weeks. My kids really stepped up and helped take care of me. My family pitched in a great deal. I am very proud of them.” Roop expressed.
The first few months of recovery were very painful and he needed a lot of will power since he did not take any pharmaceuticals. The first month he mainly focused on how much weight he could bear on his leg and the second month was zeroed in on getting a normal gait.
After months of doctor’s appointments, rehab sessions and self control, he is back miraculously to kicking a heavy bag without hesitation just five months later. He posted a video on his facebook page showing how far he has come.
The Apex MMA staple is working hard in the gym and has a date for his return in mind.
“I would like to fight in March (2017). I don’t have anybody specific in mind and I don’t believe I deserve a title shot right away. I plan on being busy right when I get back to action.”
Speaking of title shots, Roop gave his thoughts on the main event at ROAD FC 34 in November between featherweight champ Mu-Gyeom Choi and challenger Murat Kazgan.
“Kazgan doesn’t deserve the title shot. I think Choi will win. Kazgan doesn’t have many MMA fights and Choi has more cage time.”
He feels that this match-up does not conflict with his future plans because he is confident that he will finish both of them.
“I will have the ROAD FC title between May and July of 2017” he stated with clear determination.