Back in March at UFC on Fuel 8, Stefan Struve was the victim of a brutal Mark Hunt left hand that left him with a fractured jaw. But that was just the beginning of a tough year for the UFC heavyweight. In August he was diagnosed with a leaking aortic valve and enlarged heart that threatened to end his fighting career.
A leaking aortic valve allows blood to flow in two directions, which is abnormal. Instead of blood flowing out through the aorta to the body, the leaking valve allows blood to flow backwards from the aorta into the left ventricle of the heart. According the the American Heart Association, this can cause the volume and pressure of blood in the left ventricle to increase, causing the heart to do more work to compensate. Over time, the walls of the ventricle will sometimes thicken, and a thickened heart muscle is less effective.
Struve's representative Nima Safapour recently told MMAWeekly.com that while no return date has been set, Stefan is back in training, and Struve himself has said that he is back to a full training schedule. He has also hinted at a possible return to the Octagon early in 2014.
Struve's condition is being managed with medication, and he is no doubt being monitored closely by his medical team. Prior to his loss to Mark Hunt in March, Struve was on a four fight win streak in the UFC.