By Thomas Gerbasi
While 18 UFC fighters were competing in the Octagon last Saturday night in Las Vegas, another of the organization’s warriors, Goran Reljic, was in a fight of his own back in his home country of Croatia - one to save two young people who had driven off the road and into the Adriatic Sea.
As reported by Croatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija, and here in the States by AOL’s MMA Fanhouse, the unbeaten middleweight was resting at his home in Zadar when he was awakened by the crash of a car into the water. Reljic ran outside to see what was happening, and upon seeing the car sinking, he ran into the water, broke the side window of the car and pulled both passengers from the vehicle.
Amazingly, he did this while still nursing an injury that forced him to withdraw from a UFC 90 bout in October against Thales Leites.
“Even suffering a severe lower back injury, and without any training and exercise in the past month and a half he risked everything, jumping under cold water and helping save lives,” Reljic’s manager, Zoran Saric, told UFC.com Thursday night. “When I spoke with him earlier today, he said “I wasn’t even thinking about my injury or about myself, I just dove into the water and started punching the window; there was only one thing on my mind, to save them.”
All parties involved in what could have been a tragedy are doing well, with no injuries reported by Reljic or the two passengers in the car. And when it was over, Reljic simply went back to his home. But witnesses at the scene weren’t so shy about this rescue, and their retelling of Reljic’s exploits has made headlines across Croatia.
And according to Saric, it isn’t the first time the 24-year old Reljic has performed such a heroic deed.
“Actually this is second time that I know Goran saved a life in the water,” he recalled. “Two years ago, he jumped into a wild storm near the cliffs in the Adriatic Sea, where a person was swimming and trying to get out the water, but the waves and current were so strong that they were pulling the person back in. I have no idea how Goran managed to pull that person out of the sea, but he did it.”
Next week, Reljic will undergo an MRI on his back to determine when he can return to the gym and begin training for his next bout. And when he returns, the 185-pound division will undoubtedly be put on notice that nothing – fists, knees, storms, or sea – will hold him back.
“This situation just reminds me of his braveness and toughness,” said Saric. “Shortly after I introduced him to the UFC, I decided to move him to the US for proper training, and there is no doubt for me that he is going to make it as a fighter, even in the world’s best organization, the UFC. He is truly a warrior who never gives up.”
Reljic to the Rescue - Rising UFC Star Saves Two in Croatia
Thomas Gerbasi November 21, 2008
Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - While 18 UFC fighters were competing in the Octagon last Saturday night in Las Vegas, another of the organization’s warriors, Goran Reljic, was in a fight of his own back in his home country of Croatia - one to save two young people who had driven off the road and into the Adriatic Sea.