KIRA MURDOCK STEPPED out of an elevator on the top floor of The Bank food hall in Sacramento, California. Wearing a flowing, white gown and veil, Murdock was expecting to meet her husband, Vince Murdock, to take wedding photos in the venue’s rooftop garden under a sunlit sky. It was Nov. 2, 2019.
The Murdocks had eloped in July and were hoping to have a public ceremony in the fall. But in September, Vince, a pro mixed martial arts fighter, was diagnosed with a serious brain disease called moyamoya that required surgery. So, 11 days prior to Vince’s operation in November, the couple scheduled a shoot with two photographers.
“Before his surgery, I wanted to have photos of us in my wedding gown and his tux,” Kira said. “We wanted to have that memory in case something did happen to him — God forbid he died or he was paralyzed or something that would go on [for] years. I was like, ‘I want to have that memory if I’m not able to have a wedding.'”
Two top light heavyweight contenders will battle in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night main event, with Thiago Santos facing Glover Teixeira. Santos hasn’t fought since his split-decision loss to then-champion Jon Jones in July 2019, while the 41-year-old Teixeira has won four straight.
UFC Fight Night: Santos vs. Teixeira
• Saturday, Las Vegas
• Main card: ESPN2, ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET
• Prelims: ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET
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When Kira got off the elevator, she immediately saw her father and was confused. She walked ahead to the garden, and there were all her friends. At the front of an aisle was Vince. He had lured Kira to their surprise wedding ceremony, a grand gesture before Vince’s life potentially changed forever.
“I was just uncertain about what was to come,” Vince said. “I didn’t know anything. Who knows what I was gonna be like? I didn’t know.”
The Murdocks recited their vows that day, a joyous occasion with the next few weeks and months still shrouded in uncertainty. Vince, meanwhile, also had another vow on his mind: He promised himself that not only would he return to MMA, but he would fight again within one year of brain surgery.
On Wednesday, Vince will make good on that declaration. He’ll fight Luis Saldaña on “Dana White’s Contender Series” in Las Vegas — nine days short of exactly one year since his operation on Nov. 13, 2019. Vince took what is a life-threatening disease as another challenge to overcome. And he is winning.
“If this happened to someone else, I’d be like, ‘Bro, you sure you even want to fight again?'” Vince said. “But in my situation,