Bi Nguyen aka Killer Bee was one of two Survivor players to leave the island this week. Nguyen, an MMA fighter by trade, suffered an MCL sprain during the game and decided to withdraw from the competition in order to protect her body from further damage.
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss spoke to Nguyen about her knee injury, her time on the island and being a positive representative for the MMA community.
MW- Hello Killer Bee, how are you doing?
BN- Hey Matt, I’m good how are you?
MW- Not bad, not bad! I want to start off by saying I’m sorry for the way your run on Survivor ended with the MCL sprain, you hate to see someone’s game cut short due to injury. As a Muay Thai fighter, your MCL is so important for throwing kicks and knee strikes so you had to do what was best for your career. But what was your thought process around the injury?
BN- When I felt something was wrong we went to go see the medical team and they confirmed that it was sprained, unstable but not torn. We wrapped it up, went back to camp and I just spent hours and hours thinking about it. My first thought process was, ‘How can I stay? I need to stay, I want to stay.’ I thought I was in a good position in the game and I just kept thinking through it.
As I was thinking I was going around camp and on the island there’s all these steep hills you have to go up. There’s so many hills on the island and my knee was buckling just doing those, I was struggling just being at camp. That’s what made me make that tough decision of looking out for my body. I had to listen to my body, this is a really bad injury to have as an MMA fighter.
MW- How do you feel you were playing the game before getting injured? Is there anything you wish you’d done differently, other than getting injured?
BN- I knew going into the game I was going to play it that I didn’t have a social game and I was just a jock. I couldn’t hide my physical abilities so I wanted to make it look like I didn’t have a social game – I wanted them to underestimate me. I think that I did that well and I wanted to be well liked and I think I did that well.
I think I only made a mistake not reassuring my alliances like I did with Gabby and that’s when the blindside happened with Jessica – I made that mistake. As far as my game overall though, it was going according to plan.
MW- Just a shame the injury took you out of it when things were going so well. How’s the knee feeling now?
BN- My knee is good, it’s stable, it’s not 100%. I can’t do as much weighted squats as I used to be able to do, I can’t run on cement. I don’t think any injuries will ever go back to 100%, sad to say but I’m happy with how it’s doing right now.
MW- You were able to step back into things and even fought for a world title after your injury on the island. How was the preparation for that fight while coming back from the MCL sprain?
BN- I had so many complications in camp but obviously I couldn’t announce it or put it out there because then my opponent would get wind of it. I had a lot of issues with that knee. It took a lot to rehab. I have the best rehab team at Jackson Wink MMA Academy and it was a lot of rehabbing plus training hard at the same time. It was rough, but we got through it.
MW- Aside from the physical toll it took, I’m sure there were other elements of being on the show that effected you as a fighter who needs to be in top shape. I’d imagine your nutrition and sleep were big factors as well. Knowing everything you do now about your experience – would you play the game again if you had the opportunity?
BN- I would definitely play again! I felt like I was floating until I left the game and I was just on the cusp of playing hard. I’m just so sad that I didn’t get to play as hard as I wanted to because I left prematurely. If I came back I think that I could win.
MW- It’s not the same as 10 or 15 years ago but to some extent there is a stigma of being a cage fighter and the sport of mixed martial arts as a whole. Did you feel any sense that you had the reputation of the sport of MMA on your shoulders to show the general public that you and your peers are more than just fighters?
BN- Yea, that’s always a goal of mine especially being a female MMA fighter. People think we’re savages, but yet here I am a small statured Asian woman fighting. That’s an everyday goal of mine and that was definitely the same on the island.
I was excited to be on the David Tribe because I wanted to show how strong of a spirit it takes to be an MMA fighter and how we’re calm, we’re nice, we’re funny – we’re not savages. This is just what we do, it’s a sport. I think I got to represent that well and I’m happy about that.
MW- As a fan of MMA, I completely agree. I think you represented the sport in a great way and opened a lot of people’s eyes. Are there any plans for your next fight?
BN- Right now I’m just going to get back to 100% with the knee and mentally also. My dad passed away right before the show and then I did the show and then a world title fight so I’m just taking a break right now. I’m focused on re-cooperating and getting back to 100% all the way around.
MW- My condolences on your father, I’m so sorry to hear that. Seems like it’s a much needed and well deserved time to unwind. It’s been a pleasure talking to you today Bi, good luck in the continued recovery and hopefully we get to see you back in the cage and on the island soon!
BN- Thank you, thank you!
Tune in for an all-new episode of Survivor next Wednesday at 8:00PM ET/PT. Check your local listings for more information.