TJ Grant’s 2013 campaign began with a bang and then some, as the well rounded vet took out Matt Wiman and Gray Maynard in memorable fashion to lock up a title shot at UFC 164. Unfortunately for Grant, a serious concussion forced the lightweight to drop out of his August 31st bout with Benson Henderson, and then pass on a proposed, December 14th scrap with newly crowned champ Anthony Pettis.

If that wasn’t disappointing enough, Grant has come under fire from some fans and observers for his recent withdrawals. First, conspiracy theorists claimed the fighter may have been pushed aside to clear the way for Henderson-Pettis II, and now, he’s been criticized for not ‘stepping up’ at UFC on FOX 9.

While speaking recently to MMA, here’s what Grant had to say about those criticisms and why he decided to pass on fighting Pettis.

“At first, just people questioning me like that, originally I was pretty upset,” Grant said. ‘Oh yeah, suck it up.’ I actually had a couple people say things like, ‘I played football with a concussion,’ and I was just like, well, you’re an idiot.”

“This latest one [against Anthony Pettis], it was just hanging around and it’s been three months, so I just wanted to take the time and heal up,” Grant said. “When they offered the fight for Dec. 14, I just knew I’m not ready. Maybe in a month I’ll be 100 percent healed. But also, I haven’t been on the mats for three months. There’s just too much unknown to be able to commit.”

Considering what he now know about the dangers of concussions, no one should fault Grant for looking out for his longterm health. Hopefully we’ll get to see the vet battle in the Octagon sometime soon.

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