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Phillipe Nover says there was no seizure before September fight

After another fainting spell, fighter says he changed diet, looking forward to a better year in 2010

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Courtesy of UFC

Phillipe Nover throws his hands at Efrain Escudero during their lightweight bout at “The Ultimate Fighter” season eight finale at The Pearl at The Palms on December 13, 2008. Escudero won the fight by unanimous decision.

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  • Phillipe Nover on fainting in the locker room before his last fight
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When Phillipe Nover collapsed in the locker room, mere hours before he was set to face Sam Stout at UFC Fight Night 19 in September, the rumors started flying.

Commission officials backstage thought what they had seen was a seizure. That message was relayed to fans by UFC president Dana White's Twitter account. Media reports ran with the information.

What actually happened that night according to Nover, who has a bachelor's degree in nursing, was that he simply fainted — most likely due to the strains of cutting weight.

"People said I had a seizure, that wasn't the case," Nover said. "I fainted. I knew it wasn't a seizure. I've never had one before. I wasn't convulsing or biting my tongue; that's a seizure. I basically just lost consciousness.

"It completely hit me by surprise. It was like somebody swept the rug from under my feet. I had no control over it."

Nover (6-2-1) has since been cleared medically to compete and is set to face Rob Emerson (10-8) at UFC 109 on Feb. 6 at Mandalay Bay. Because of his last fight being cancelled, Nover will be battling the effects of an eight-month layoff by the time he steps in against Emerson.

Nover has had issues cutting weight before. He jokingly was referred to by White as "fainting Phillipe" after he collapsed during an episode of the eighth season of "The Ultimate Fighter".

According to Nover, the problems have come because of his poor eating habits following weigh-ins. Instead of consuming slow-burning starches like pasta, Nover had attacked sugary foods like energy bars and fruits that threw off his blood-sugar levels.

"I had specialists take a look at me and their concern was on a cellular level," Nover said. "After the weigh-in, I was doing the Pedialytes, but I wasn't getting the carbo-dense food. I was eating fast and incorrectly and it was throwing by blood sugar out of whack."

The UFC lightweight has sought out the help of a nutritionist since September and says he is "100 percent" confident it won't happen again.

Even so, it was a disappointing end to a disappointing year for Nover, who entered 2009 as a top lightweight prospect.

After garnering a lot of attention by defeating Dave Kaplan and George Roop while a contestant on TUF, Nover hasn't won a fight since.

He lost to Efrain Escudero in the season's finale in December 2008 and then took a first-round TKO loss to Kyle Bradley in his only fight in 2009.

Although he says he tries his best to stay away from any Internet posts or forums regarding his career, Nover runs across them from time to time and is aware that some have given up on him after the down year.

"Sometimes I do read the stuff on the Internet and 80 percent of the time it's, 'Hey, this guy is really talented and he still has a lot of potential,'" Nover said. "But then you get the people who say, 'This guy is all hype.'

"I think intelligent fans can see I wasn't hyped. I was on the show and did pretty well. I've had a couple bumps but I don't think my career is over. I'm still confident and I still have a lot to learn. I know some people still have faith in me and I'm thankful for that."

Not only did he have a fight cancelled in 2009, Nover also may have had one stopped too early.

At UFC 98 in May, Nover took a hard shot from Bradley on the side of the head that forced referee Yves Lavigne to stop the fight, even though Nover appeared to recover instantly.

Although Nover says he's moved on from that fight, he still believes it could have continued after watching it a countless number of times since.

"I was definitely dissatisfied after that one," Nover said. "You dedicate your life to 15 minutes and then to have the ref take it away. I was totally fine. I didn't even have a bruise after that fight. I got hit harder during training.

"The rules say a fight needs to be stopped after three or four unanswered shots. I got one."

But Nover says that the events of 2009 can also make him a better fighter. He says he knows now that he can't lose any scuffle in the cage and appear in a vulnerable state and he's also committed to walking around lighter and eating right so that he never suffers from another fainting episode.

Although he does admit that the eight-month long break could be a small disadvantage at first, he's eager to get back to action against Emerson and says his entire outlook on his career is now for the better.

"I'm really looking forward to this," Nover said. "I would definitely say that 2009 was not a good year for me. I think that when someone is under all that pressure, it's easy to start not enjoying yourself. I'm going to take that energy and use it in a positive way.

"I'm going to go out and do my best. I'm going to beat Emerson and I'm going to enjoy it."

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected]. Also follow him on twitter: LVSunFighting.

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