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15 UFC CAREERS THREATENED BY ILLNESS, INJURY, & DRUGS

15 UFC CAREERS THREATENED BY ILLNESS, INJURY, & DRUGS


Many of us have fantasies about being a professional
athlete. We imagine playing the sport we love and making
millions of dollars for doing it. But these fantasies don’t usually include
a lot of physiotherapy. So very carefully hit that subscribe button
and notification bell—don’t strain yourself!—and we’ll check out some UFC fighters who’ve
been sidelined. Brock of Ages
Brock Lesnar has made a name for himself as one of the biggest and toughest fighters in
MMA and wrestling. But he’s had to battle his toughest adversary
outside the octagon and the ring since he was diagnosed with Diverticulitis in 2009. This dangerous illness is caused when portions
of the colon become inflamed and infected, with symptoms including nausea, vomiting and
constipation. And the disease can cause an even more serious
condition called Peritonitis, where contents of the colon leak into body cavities, requiring
immediate surgery. Risk factors include obesity and steroid use
– two factors that seem to apply to Lesnar. But Lesnar fought back, and after a five year
absence, he staged a comeback to the UFC in 2016 winning the match on points. When Positive is a Negative
In the Summer of 2017 Jon Jones failed his drug test leading up to UFC 214. Jones defeated Daniel Cormier, but the positive
drug test for the steroid Turinabol put his career in jeopardy. This is his second positive test and resulted
in the belt being returned to Cormier. This fight was billed as Jones’s comeback
after a year-long suspension after testing positive for two separate other drugs associated
with steroid use. Jones disputed those findings saying the positive
result was caused by a “sex pill.” Jones continued to insist he’s innocent and
could have received a four year suspension, but was lucky to get only one year. Boweled Over
Georges St. Pierre has had an exciting and tumultuous career in the UFC, but he might
be facing his biggest battle yet. In early December 2017 it was revealed that
GSP has ulcerative colitis. Because of the diagnosis he decided to turn
in his middle weight champion belt. Ulcerative colitis is a serious inflammation
of the colon that cause pain, swelling and bloody stools. There’s no cure, but the symptoms can be
treated and patients can go into remission. Doctors believe the primary cause is an abnormal
response by the body’s immune system. Age and family history are also factors, but
regardless of the cause, GSP faces a formidable challenge to his health and his career in
the octagon. Cruzing for a Bruising
Injuries can shorten any athlete’s career, but multiple injuries can bring it to a swift
end. Dominick Cruz has torn the Anterior Cruciate
Ligament of both knees and each time had to take considerable time off from the UFC. The fighter has also suffered a broken arm
as well as a number of less serious injuries that have hampered his career. Each time though he’s fought his way back
into the octagon, healthy enough to compete—and to win, including a knockout of challenger
Takeya Mizugaki. Although he has battled back from these injuries
time and again, it’s hard to believe they won’t contribute to a significantly shorter
career. Fighting Blind
Michael Bisping unknowingly suffered a detached retina in a fight in 2013 and continued to
compete in MMA matches. After at least two bouts in the octagon his
damaged eye was checked and doctors confirmed he had been competing with a detached retina
in his right eye. This is a serious injury that requires surgery
and recovery. Bisping was cleared to train and spar, but
suffered an untimely relapse. He noticed the vision deteriorating so he
had it checked out and it was confirmed the retina had become detached again. As he had a fight coming up, Bisping underwent
surgery in an attempt to make it right in time, but it proved impossible and he had
to miss the match. However, he did make his return to the octagon
in 2014, and he seems to be seeing clear since then. Burning Desire
Professional athletes are more attuned to their bodies than average people. Take for example Mike Swick’s habit of draining
his cauliflower ear as this lovely image shows. But Swick didn’t have to have any special
insight to know the intense pain in his chest was a serious problem. The pain would keep him up at night and effect
his training so he consulted several doctors. Swick was misdiagnosed several times before
they finally hit upon the correct ailment: esophageal spasms. Unfortunately they aren’t well understood
so treatment is a little hit and miss. He lost a match because he couldn’t train
consistently and had to take a lay off in 2009. Swick returned to the octagon in August 2012
to fight Demarque Johnson where he was able to score a long-awaited victory. Red Blooded Battler
In 2009 Joe Ellenberg had a 10-0 record in the octagon, but then his health started to
deteriorate. Testing revealed that Ellenberg was suffering
from a rare blood disease called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). This disease causes his body to destroy its
red blood cells too early, putting a tremendous strain on the body. Fortunately, Joe was able to receive effective
treatment with the help of his insurance and the National Organization for Rare Disorders. after a significant layoff he was able get
back into fighting shape and continue his career with UFC. Cain No Longer Able
Cain Velasquez was one of UFC’s most intimidating fighters, pounding opponents for years as
he dominated the Heavy Weight division. Although he was not a known PED abuser, his
back injuries led to him experimenting with various pain killers. Velasquez tried Cannabidiol CBD as an alternative
to opiates, drugs he said he wanted to avoid because of the risk of addiction. He’s endured a number of back surgeries
including one in 2017 that shaved some bone off his spinal column to make more room for
the sciatic nerve. Velasquez has said that regular use of CBD
is the only thing that allows him to continue to train. He hoped that with additional surgeries he
can become pain-free, but in the meantime will continue to rely on the pain killers. Nunes Not Cutting it
When Amanda Nunes had to drop out of her UFC 213 match in July 2017 just hours before she
was scheduled to fight her team cited “illness” as the reason she had to go to the hospital. Her intended opponent, Shevchenko, was understandably
upset when the plug was pulled on the fight so late in the game. Shevchenko responded bluntly: “Nunes couldn’t
cut weight correctly and was hospitalized.” Cutting weight for MMA fights is a common
but unhealthy process that can lead to a number of health complications. Nunez apparently experienced enough of them
that she had to be admitted to a hospital. Both fighters lost considerable money, but
the rematch should be interesting. Cautionary Tale
Hindsight is 20/20, but you generally hope it’ll help you plan for the future too. Take Mark Kerr: he was a juggernaut heavyweight
champion in the early years of UFC. But his aggressive fighting style and monster
physique were partially fuelled by anabolic steroids. Even after his doctors warned him that he
was doing serious damage to his liver, he was allowed to keep fighting and he continued
to keep using steroids to keep his training intense and consistent. Kerr has given interviews where he discussed
the tremendous amount of head trauma he suffered during his career, and he believes he’ll
eventually develop dementia or some form of brain disorder that will be attributed to
his MMA career. Let’s hope in this case he’s wrong and
he can continue to look back and learn. Making an Impact
When Josh Barnett was notified by the USDA of his positive drug test results in 2016
it wasn’t the first time the UFC fighter faced scandal. Back in 2009 Barnett helped crater another
MMA organization after testing positive for steroids before a big match. Barnett has been a colorful character in the
world of MMA for quite a while, but his repeated abuse of anabolic steroids put his career
in jeopardy. His 2016 violation led to a fairly lengthy
suspension. While his UFC career was at a standstill he
decided to take the opportunity to wrestle with TNA Impact. Barnett even won the title – at least during
the taping of the event, but in the wild world of wrestling who knows? McCall of the Wild
Just about every UFC fighter has had to deal with injuries and illness in pursuit of victory. But Ian McCall seems to have had a particular
problem staying healthy for his fights. During one particularly troublesome period
he was forced to drop out of three of five consecutive matches due to either illness
or injury. Although one of the three was technically
because he failed to make weight, it’s reasonable to assume there was some injury or illness
that contributed to this. After all, making weight is one of the fundamental
processes of today’s MMA so missing it is an indication that something is seriously
wrong in one’s training camp. Some analysts have speculated that McCall’s
weight cutting regimen has compromised his health and could mean big trouble for his
career. Cyborg’s Don’t Feel Pain? Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos has had issues with
anabolic steroids going as far back as 2012. Although it’s really the 2016 violation
that’s slowed down her UFC career. Santos joined the UFC in 2016 and immediately
racked a couple of impressive victories. But repeated violations from one of the sport’s
most visible fighter is not good for the UFC. In addition to steroid concerns around fighters
like Santos, dangerous weight cutting practices threaten the health and careers of fighters
as they do whatever they think is necessary to compete at the highest level in MMA. But recently Santos managed to best Holly
Holm at UFC-219 in Las Vegas. The Worst Month of My Life
Everyone knows UFC can be a dangerous sport, but Anderson Silva likely wasn’t prepared
for the serious leg injury he suffered in a December 2013 bout. Silva’s opponent blocked his kick, causing
gruesome breaks in Silva’s shin bones. Silva’s injury required extensive physical
rehabilitation, but his mental rehabilitation was perhaps even more important to his eventual
return to the octagon. Silva did return at UFC 183 in 2015 and earned
a decision against Nick Diaz. His first fight after the injury was not highly
regarded by many analysts, but competing and winning after his injury must have felt like
a pretty sweet victory to Silva indeed. Unbroken
For Rose Namajunas the octagon has not been where she has fought her toughest battles. From a childhood in Wisconsin marred by sexual
assault, drugs and violence Namajunas has battled with mental health problems. These issues, as trying as they are, haven’t
stopped her from becoming a successful fighter in UFC. And she’s been pretty open about her struggles,
including her reliance on a support dog to help her cope. Her latest opponent, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, decided
it would be a good idea to capitalize on this openness, taunting her by saying, “You are
mentally unstable and you are broken already…” Like something out of a Rocky movie, Namajunas
beat Jedrzejczyk in an upset knockout in November 2017. For now, her career continues on an upswing,
but Namajunas knows she has to take things one day at a time maintain the progress she
has made in her battles outside the octagon. Did our sick list make you ill? Let us know in the comments! Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button
and ding that notification bell, and check out some of our other UFC vids. See ya next time!

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10 thoughts on “15 UFC CAREERS THREATENED BY ILLNESS, INJURY, & DRUGS

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