When Ultimate Fighter 3 finalist Ed Herman entered the cage at UFC 102 he had no way of knowing it would be the last time he did so for the next twenty-two months. In fact, the same could be said when the second round of his bout against Aaron Simpson opened up even though he’d suffered a devastating injury to his knee minutes earlier during a takedown attempt from the former All-American wrestler.

“I didn’t realize it, I didn’t know how bad it was, so I continued to fight, tried to answer the bell in the second-round. Came out to fight, I threw like a headkick or something and there was just nothing there underneath me. Me knee wasn’t there pretty much, so it folded underneath me,” Herman recently explained in a conversation with Fightline. “The ref told me in between rounds that he thought he saw my knee go, but he was going to let me continue if I wanted to go. My job is to fight. If the ref stops it, the ref stops it.”

However, though he suffered a torn ACL and damage to his meniscus, the 30-year appeared on track for a 2010 return when disaster struck a second time.

“I go through surgery, the healing process, all that, and I started training again in January. A couple of weeks in, I blew my ACL out again…so that was pretty rough for me, mentally and physically – financially, everything.”

The concept of a UFC veteran with nine bouts in the Octagon under his belt struggling on a fiscal level may seem far-fetched to some fans but reality often differs from perception, especially when considering a Mixed Martial Artist’s income is contingent on competition in terms of both sponsorship money and salary. It’s an issue rarely considered when fighters are sidelined for extended periods of time whether due to health-related problems or a lack of opportunity within the promotion but true nonetheless.

In Herman’s case the situation forced him to swallow his pride and return to the working world in order to pay bills while healing for an eventual return to the ring. Specifically, “Short Fuse” started bartending and bouncing as he had as an up-and-comer.

“It was fun when I was younger and single and stuff, but now that I’m a little older and I have a family, I’m not into the party scene anymore, so… it sucked. It just wasn’t fun. Talking to people, having everybody say, ‘Oh you’re that guy that used to fight in the UFC! Oh man, here’s an extra buck,’…people feeling sorry for me, that was hard to deal with.”

Fortunately, Herman pressed through the adversity with the mindset that things happen for a reason assisted by an upbringing where he grew up “working for everything” he had. His efforts paid off this past June at the Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale with an opening round knockout of always-tough Tim Credeur where he came away healthy enough to fight again later this month at UFC Live 5 against Kyle Noke.

“It’s been a struggle, so me getting the fight in June and getting that big win, it helped a lot,” Herman said with a sense of relief. “I’ve been able to pay off some debt, and kind of get back on my feet.”

Herman holds an overall record of 21-9 in his career with an impressive percentage of stoppages including six TKOs and thirteen submissions. Among the notches on his belt are wins over David Loiseau, Joe Doerksen, Glover Teixeira, Nick Thompson, Scott Smith, and Brian Ebersole.