Coker confirmed Pico’s shoulder injury at the post-event press conference for the Showtime-televised event at Long Beach Arena and welcomed the idea of a rematch, though he left open the possibility that Kennedy could choose a different direction. (Pico’s coach, Greg Jackson, separately confirmed to MMA Fighting a dislocated shoulder was the fighter’s diagnosis.)
The cageside doctor who examined Pico between the first and second rounds, after Pico clearly suffered an injury and was seen having his shoulder worked on by his corner, was overheard speculating that the fighter may have suffered a broken clavicle, a far more serious injury that likely would require a more extended layoff. The doctor waved off the fight, giving Kennedy the win via first-round injury TKO.
Instead, Pico may be back in action sooner than later, though his prognosis is not yet clear.
“Aaron’s shoulder popped back in – it’s not broken,” Coker relayed in a note passed to him at the post-event presser. “He’s seeing a specialist Tuesday. He wants a rematch right away, and he’s in good spirits.”
Pico has yet to comment on the setback, which snapped a six-fight winning streak and may have stalled a shot at the featherweight title. Patricio Pitbull, who successfully defended the 145-pound belt with a decision over Adam Borics, wasn’t clear on his next step with Pico’s loss.
“It is unfortunate, because I could see where Aaron was taking this fight, and once his shoulder popped out, it didn’t really work out for him,” Coker said. “I feel bad for him, because I know he really wanted to have a victory here, he wanted to have a great performance, and I think he was on his way to do it. He just couldn’t even fend the guy off after a certain point.
“Nothing to take away from Jeremy, because he’s a top-ranked fighter, but I just think Aaron was looking really good up until the point where his shoulder got popped, and then the tide turned, and he started taking damage. I think that the doctor was correct in stopping the fight, because we don’t want Aaron to get hurt. We don’t want anybody to get hurt. It’s something that he’ll have another day, and so we’ll let him rest, heal up, and we’ll bring him back when he’s ready.
“I’d like to run that one back for sure. … Let’s see. This puts Jeremy in a different position now. He can advance and move forward, so let’s see when he’s ready; he might be ready way before Aaron is ready. Timing’s going to be an issue, but we’re going to give him an opportunity of moving forward and fight tougher guys. And Aaron’s going to have to go back to the drawing board and get healthy. But as soon as the doctor says he’s ready to go, and he feels like he’s ready to go, we’re definitely going to have him back.”