Rob Sinclair believes the epiphany he developed after a potentially debilitating injury has helped to shape him as a fighter and individual.
The 35-year-old has defied the prognosis of doctors and surgeons to return to action after rupturing his anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments in August 2013.
I’ve been brought back from the brink of depressionRob Sinclair
The former BAMMA lightweight champion, who defended his title against Andre Winner at Wembley two-and-a-half years ago, sustained the injury in his final sparring session ahead of a proposed Bellator debut against Rich Clementi.
“I was three weeks away from the fight and it was in the last round of my final sparring session,” he said. “My opponent went for a scissor sweep and my knee buckled. An MRI scan later showed that I’d done my ligaments.”
Sinclair was referred to Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport where orthopaedic surgeon David Sands Johnson performed two operations. The MMA star was then forced to wear a leg brace for four months.
“It was traumatic,” he said. “It was a bad time for me. I was told my walking would be impaired and I wouldn’t be able to run properly. They said I’d lose a lot of strength in my legs. Lots of aspects in my life then went from bad to worse.”
But Sinclair, known as “C4”, refused to accept defeat. Physio Emma Fletcher and strength and conditioning coach Dave Bell dedicated their time and effort at Sportesse PT in Chorley and their expertise has helped significantly with Sinclair increasing his squat from 75kg to 130kg.
“I’ve been brought back from the brink of depression,” said Sinclair. “I would’ve died away if it wasn’t for them but they brought that activity in to my life. I’m happy, much happier than I was before.
“It’s going well and I feel really good. I’ve been working hard on a lot of other aspects of my training. I’ve been building my leg and core strength too and I’m twice as strong as I was before. I didn’t appreciate how important other parts of my training were before but now I’m feeling stronger than ever.”
Sinclair added: “The injury has been a blessing in disguise in the cruellest way imaginable. If I’d have fought Rich Clementi last time I think I would’ve got beat. I’ve improved all over though, I’ve been working on the technical side of things and strength and conditioning.
“I’m a lot better in my mind as well. I was told by the doctors that I might not be able to walk properly. I was a glass half empty kind of guy which didn’t get me anywhere but I changed my mindset to be more positive. I’ve been in good spirits since.”
A schedule incorporating yoga, Brazilian ju-jitsu, training at Predators MMA in Manchester, strength and conditioning classes and boxing has now paved the way for Sinclair to make his competitive comeback.
The BT engineer will scramble for superiority in the cage with American Saad Awad on April 4th on the undercard of Will Brooks v Dave Jansen at Bellator 136 in Irvine, California.
“Everything is getting back to normal,” he said. “It’s been a fairytale story. I’ve recovered from the depths of despair and depression to being at the top of the hill.
“I’m not going to focus on becoming the best anymore. I’ll just be looking to be the best on the day in my fight. Everyday that I’m training I’m defying the odds because I was told I wouldn’t be doing this. I’m not a quitter though and now my life is a lot better.
“Even if I lose this fight I’ve still won. I just want to get in there. The injury has helped me mature as an individual and as a fighter. I took everything for granted before, I was too wrapped up in myself. It’s been a long road to recovery but I’ve almost made it.”