Chris Gutierrez survived the highest of UFC 281 highs after receiving the devastating news.
Leading up to his fight with Frankie Edgar last Saturday, Gutierrez learned that Factory X’s trainer Mark Montoya had been diagnosed with kidney cancer. The cancer was actually discovered when Montoya went to the hospital to treat a staph infection and shared the story on his social media.
Despite the diagnosis, Montoya traveled to New York and was on Gutierrez’s side when the bantamweight contender knocked out UFC legend Frankie Edgar in the first round.
Gutierrez shared his appreciation for Montoya during a speech at Hour of MMA.
“All this with Coach Mark, he has a staph infection that he goes to the hospital with, and they find out he has kidney failure, and then when they do the scan, they’re like, ‘You’ve got a tumor on your kidney.’ Gutierrez said when asked about the emotional roller coaster he experienced leading up to UFC 281. “So there were good things that came along with everything that was going on. You still have situations that you have to face.”
According to Gutierrez, Montoya left the hospital on Thursday and was in New York on the Friday before Gutierrez’s fight. His appearance came as no surprise to Gutierrez, who expected his head coach to do his job, though no one would blame Montoya if he pulled out of the event.
“To put it mildly, this guy is made from a different fabric,” Gutierrez said. “He made a promise, and this guy is just not going to make a promise and not keep it. So he said, “I promise I’ll be at your fight.”
“He had every excuse to say, ‘Hey man, I’m going to spend time with my family,’ and he could very well do it. But, as I said, it is arranged quite differently. He makes a promise, he will keep it.”
Montoya still needs to get rid of the staph infection before he can move on to cancer treatment, and Gutierrez expects his trainer to have surgery sometime in December. Under Montoya’s tutelage, Gutierrez has become a dark horse in the UFC’s 135-pound division, with four straight wins and a 7-0-1 record in his last eight fights.
Gutierrez admits he felt a little extra pressure to get the win after everything Montoya went through to get into the fight.
“Of course,” Gutierrez said. “This is reality, this is the truth. This guy flew in that Friday, and for me not to give it my all would be just disrespectful. This guy is going all out – literally struggling to get up those stairs and walking all over the place with us – for me to go there, just lie down quietly and look for a way out would be disrespectful to him and his family. and everyone who was in the process of making it happen.”