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A new round: Oklahoma City police officer, MMA fighter Matt Grice recovers after brain injury

by Juliana Keeping Modified: October 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm •  Published: October 3, 2013

“This ain't my first rodeo.”

Those words belonged to Matthew Grice, an Oklahoma City police officer hurt so badly in a car accident last month it wasn't clear if he'd pull through.

Grice, who is also a professional mixed martial arts fighter, did.

On Sept. 8 in Shawnee, a van traveling down a highway slammed into the back of the Grice's Jeep Wrangler while he was stopped at a red light. He arrived at OU Medical Center in critical condition, with a traumatic brain injury. He had emergency surgery. Doctors were not optimistic.

Grice, the 32-year-old Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight, has proved to be a fighter.

Weeks after his accident, his wife, Caroline, began to post updates on Facebook.

Awakened from medical sedation, he has begun to recover from his brain injury, a slow process. On Sept. 25, Caroline described how doctors placed a speaking valve in a tracheal tube.

His words were garbled and hard to understand at first.

“This ain't my first rodeo,” came across.

It was a reference to an earlier accident, said his friend and manager Danny Rubenstein.

Grice grew up in Harrah, and became a four-time state champion in high school wrestling. The summer before college at the University of Oklahoma, a car accident sent him through the windshield on the passenger side.

After multiple surgeries, he recovered. At OU, he wrestled and earned a degree in sociology. He may not have met his potential as a collegiate wrestler, Rubenstein said, but “he's one of the toughest guys that's ever wrestled.”

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