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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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by Juliana Keeping
Enterprise Reporter
Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award...
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