Dana White in ‘Battle of Wills’ with Doctors Over Surgery for Meniere’s Disease

June 18, 2012
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Dana White might just be the busiest man in all of mixed martial arts, and he doesn’t have time to deal with sickness.

It sounds funny but the fact is White is currently dealing with an ongoing situation from a bout with Meniere’s disease, an inner ear dysfunction that causes extreme bouts of vertigo.

Back in May, White missed the first UFC event of his career since Zuffa took over the organization when he was unable to attend UFC on Fuel TV 3 in Virginia. A few days after the event he was supposed to have surgery, but the doctors eventually decided to treat him with medication instead.

Unfortunately, according to White only about 50-percent of patients with Meniere’s disease actually respond to the medication so he’s lobbying very hard to get the surgery instead.

“It’s a battle of wills,” said White when appearing on HDNet’s Inside MMA, as he continues to seek surgery to hopefully curb the issues he’s having with Meniere’s disease.

The surgery is no cure for the debilitating disease, but it does relieve some of the symptoms and according to White the treatment he is seeking involves cutting a nerve on his inner ear.

The Mayo Clinic describes this as ‘Vestibular nerve section, a procedure involves cutting the nerve that connects balance and movement sensors in your inner ear to the brain (vestibular nerve). This procedure usually corrects problems with vertigo while attempting to preserve hearing in the affected ear.”

“It’s something that has to be done. I have to fix this problem, I can’t do what I do and have that happen to me again,” White said.

“Just that one incident, I was lucky I was in Las Vegas and my doctor is familiar with it and knew what to do, and I was still down for four days. If that happened to me somewhere else, I’m telling you, people who have this understand where I’m coming from, I’m afraid that that’s going to happen to me again.”

Check out the full interview with White from HDNet’s Inside MMA below:

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  • Pretty scary condition but its even worse to have to deal with it when you know surgery will take care of it right away. Can’t really fight doctor’s orders though.

    • I have Meneire’s Disease. Surgery WILL NOT take care of it right away. Vestibular nerve section is considered brain surgery as the skull has to be opened therefore meaning he has to allow time to heal so that infections such as meningitis don’t set in. and as with any surgery there runs the risk of it not working at all or the risk of all vertigo not being taken away. The “healing” process takes months! There is more to Meniere’s than just vetigo. Now, I don’t knock him for wanting it gone. We ALL do! But, he has to think rationally.

  • caninejustice

    I’ve been dealing with an inner ear vestibular balance issue similar to his since I got hit by an IED in 2004.

    Also, the surgery isn’t a cure, it may not work. The best way I describe the feeling you get when having an episode is that is like being drunk but you’re aware of what is going on around you. You can’t walk, you can’t stand, you just sit there with your head spinning and feeling like you’re gonna hurl. It sucks…

  • Karma’s a bitch!

    • kylesmith

      I’ve ripped on Dana a lot in the past, but this illness of his has made me step back and realize everything that he has done for the sport. I am very thankful that as long as White is around, MMA will never become boxing. Long live Dana!

  • larryjohnson

    I have Meniere’s Disease too (diagnosed last year), had 7-14 vertigo attacks per week. This stuff is horrible. I tried everything the docs told me (low salt diet, diretics, steroid injections in the eardrum) and nothing worked. I knew surgery was going to be the only thing that would help, and it was a battle of the wills to get them to do it. Finally I got the surgery done (sac decomp) and 7 months later the results are amazing.

  • larryjohnson

    I forgot to add… the sac decomp with a P.E. tube in the ear drum was a 4 hour surgery for me. It’s going to be painful but it’s worth it.

  • Le in Florida

    Dana- I have attempted to talk to you about Meniere’s in a previous article. I to am a Meniere’s sufferer. Since a severe head injury at work thank you for bringing Meniere’s too the publics attention. Instead of hiding it in the shadow. Please do not have the radical nerve surgery until you have exhausted all other options. Some people wrote you about how they sit in chairs during an episode, I can’t get off the floor. I feel like the whole house is rocking. After an episode the aura in my ears is so intense I live with rebounding migraine headaches.I had the sac decompression surgery. Hurr