Magana, a top-10 125-pound Women's MMA fighter from La Plata, was set to fight for the Xtreme Fighting Championships 115-pound championship fight before a rollover accident on March 9 in Kingman, Ariz., brought her plans to a screeching halt.
"I was driving right outside of Kingman, Ariz., on (U.S. Route 93) en route to Las Vegas for a grappling tournament to compete and coach," said Magana. "I was driving on a split highway. Myself and another car were going northbound, him in the right lane and myself in the left — my front tires about even with his back tires. He aggressively came about two feet into my lane. I braked and avoided the accident by veering to the left. We began to slide and, as soon as my vehicle hit dirt, my wheels caught. The hill we slid up I believe caused us to flip at the crest of it. We flipped four times. The gentleman causing the accident stopped and told officers he was reaching for a Coke lid on the floorboard when he swerved into us.
"It was just like the movies. Slow motion, almost like being in space."
Magana was driving with two friends, Tony Cavasos and Rebecca Martos. Martos, who has been traveling everywhere with Magana while filming a documentary, received the worst of the injuries in the accident, including a partially amputated thumb.
"She has had five surgeries since the accident trying to save her thum. Leech therapy didn't work and skin grafts didn't take due to the severity of the trauma," Magana said. "Most of her left thumb is gone. Tony walked away with scratches and a bruised knee."
Martos was riding in the back seat where the roof of the four-door sedan was mostly caved in.
Magana sustained a severe concussion and spent 10 days in the hospital, forcing her to back out of her debut fight in the XFC.
"I wanted to tough it out and still fight but I was getting vertigo and 10 days in the hospital got me out of shape fast," she said. "There was no way I would have gotten passed from the doctors who saw me in Kingman. After a few days out of the hospital, I came to my senses and was just very grateful to be alive and knew fighting wouldn't be an intelligent decision. It took a lot of courage to admit my weakness and say I can't fight. As a fighter, I've always been so strong and to not be in control — from the actual accident to not being able to walk at any time that I wanted to pulling out of the fight — made me feel weak for a period of time until I put things into perspective."
The XFC decided to postpone the 115-pound women's championship fight after Magana's accident, allowing her time to recover and fight the winner of an interim title fight.
"The XFC is an amazing company to work for and have been very comforting during my loss," Magana said. "They have actually put my fight, which was supposed to be the first ever female fight for the XFC to be on the main card and the first women's title fight aired nationally in 60 million homes, on hold. They are waiting for me. I was shocked and am still smiling about that. To me, that means they already consider me the champ."
Magana (11-5) has not yet received a date for the rescheduled fight. She is currently focusing on slowly getting back into a routine at Team Four Corners in Farmington and Durango Martial Arts in Colorado.
"I am taking it slow and getting back into full training. When I get a headache, I stop," she said. "I will be fighting very soon I feel."
Magana has fought just once in the last 20 months after an accident in 2012 caused the cancellation of one of her fights. But Magana is keeping her fighter's spirit and focusing on the positives in life.
"I have been in two accidents and they happened to be one year and one week to the day apart from each other," she said. "I was born a fighter. I was bred for this. I've fought every bit of the way to be where I am. I have never felt cursed for one minute through all my adversity in my life from my mom dying, breaking my back, my financé dying or the accidents. I look for the silver lining. How would I ever know how gallant and strong I could be? How could I ever help tohers? And would I ever know how truly blessed I am? I have never victimized myself. I've always considered myself a survivor. Blessed or cursed, it is all relative. I am truly blessed to have the support system and strength to persevere and overcome. I already see myself as healed and with the belt around my waist."
John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.