Starting next month in January 2012, TheFightNerd.com will be offering readers a chance to pick the brain of one of the most well-known doctors in sports medicine. Dr. Michael B. Shapiro is an orthopedist specializing in the treatment of spinal disorders, lower back and neck pain, osteoporosis, scoliosis and sciatica. Whether or not they recognize the name, all MMA fans are familiar with his work in the now famous case of Nate Quarry.
In the winter of 2006, UFC middleweight contender Nate “Rock” Quarry’s career was over. Chronic spinal injuries left him physically unable to play with his daughter, let alone endure the rigors of fight training. Quarry’s injuries were considered by conventional wisdom to be ones that are never fully recovered from. By the summer of that same year, Nate Quarry came back from the dead. His resurrection was credited to spinal surgery performed by Dr. Shapiro.
The successful surgery and subsequent victory in Quarry’s comeback fight against Pete Sell was the subject of much analysis in the MMA world and a show-stopping presentation by Quarry at the 2010 TED Conference. Quarry’s account of the comeback during the TED Conference can be viewed below:
Dr. Shapiro’s involvement with athletes did not stop after Quarry’s case and his practice is still actively sought out by mixed martial artists in need of a specialist. The most recent notch in Dr. Shapiro’s belt was the successful total disk replacement surgery he performed on TUF alumni Phillipe Nover.
Nover has fought three times since the surgery, pulling down two wins and a controversial split decision loss at Bellator 59 on November 26. During the post-fight press conference of Bellator 59, Nover reported that his training camp needed to make no concessions after he recovered from the surgery.
“I feel like I have a new neck,” said Nover. “I can shoot. I can wrestle. Nothing’s changed.”
Starting in January 2012, this site will begin a monthly “Ask Doctor Shapiro” column, where the doctor will respond to reader questions about orthopedic injury, surgery, and recovery. We will be accepting reader queries as of today. Please send all questions to Matt (at) thefightnerd (dot) com, or leave a comment here.