ANAHEIM CA - OCTOBER 22: UFC Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar weighs in at 264 lbs at the UFC 121 weigh-in at the Honda Center on October 22 2010 in Anaheim California. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Yesterday, the UFC announced that Brock Lesnar was once again suffering from diverticulitis, the swelling of abnormal pouches called diverticulum in the intestinal wall. The disease's return has forced Lesnar to withdraw from a showdown with Junior dos Santos at UFC 131 in June. Shane Carwin has stepped up on roughly 30 days notice to maintain a solid main event match-up on the card, but it's far from a fight that would create the pay-per-view buys that Lesnar would bring.
Lesnar stated during the conference call yesterday afternoon that he believes this isn't the end of the road for him in the sport. Dana White and the UFC are probably happy to hear the determination by their former champ to continue fighting. Unfortunately, the outlook is grim on whether the UFC will be able to squeeze a few more main events out of the 33-year-old NCAA champion wrestler.
Much of the speculation surrounding the initial bout with diverticulitis revolved around steroids and their connection with gastrointestinal illnesses. Others felt Lesnar's physical gifts, massive size, and enormous diet were a combination that bred life-long problems with health. Nobody knows for sure exactly why Lesnar is suffering, and I'm not willing to pin his illness on steroid use. What we do know is diverticulitis is an ailment that can be life threatening if perforations, bleeding, or blockages occur. Lesnar had a perforation that leaked fecal matter into his abdomen when the illness was first discovered, making this sudden relapse a major concern for his future in the sport and in life.
In various studies, vigorous physical activity was proven to decrease the complications of the disease. But as Lesnar stated yesterday during the conference call, he's not a normal human being. He's a freak of nature who is pushing himself physically in training every day. Whether or not those studies are accounting for the relentless training that Lesnar and many other athletes go through on a daily basis is unknown.
What's the outcome to this saga? Many fans are claiming this is the end of the Lesnar era in mixed martial arts, an era that saw a massive crossover superstar bring huge revenue to the UFC. It's an easy prediction to make considering the evidence. The disease can be life-threatening, and Lesnar, who has already made millions from his professional wrestling career and years in the UFC, doesn't need to press his luck by fighting. Lesnar alluded to the notion that he probably wasn't 100% in both the Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez fight, and he may never be at 100% again. The illness could plague him for the rest of his life.
Diet is one of the major improvements one must make to subside the symptoms of diverticulitis, and I have my doubts as to whether the diet to maintain a hulking 265 lb. mountain of a man runs parallel with a high fiber, soothing diet that will stifle these problems. There is also something to be said for his training regiment. While studies show that all of this vigorous activity should help the situation, it's hard to believe an overexerting workout routine for a heavyweight mixed martial artist with previous problems helps. But I'm not a doctor.
Surgery was an option brought up during the conference call, and in my opinion -- I think Brock may be leaning toward that solution as it will cut out portions of the intestine that are filled with those abnormal pouches. He stated on multiple occasions during the call that he wanted to fix this and get back to business. That seems like a logical choice considering the initial treatment never cured the problem.
How long will surgery sideline the former champion? We don't know. And we don't know if it will cure his illness, nor do we know if he'll continue to be plagued with this potentially life-threatening disease. Perhaps this is the end for Brock Lesnar. In my mind, I think we'll see Lesnar return by next year, but I don't think he'll be in the sport much longer, especially if he will never be able to convince himself that he's 100% when he steps into the cage.