Instead of hitting the gym, doing workouts and sparring with his training partners on Wednesday, former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar spent 14 hours at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
Lesnar, who defied odds and bounced back after he was stricken with diverticulitis in 2009, hadn’t been feeling himself for the past couple of months, and he knew deep down that something wasn’t right… again.
The former NCAA champion knew what the symptoms surrounding diverticulitis were because he had dealt with them before, but since that time he had completely changed his diet and lifestyle to prevent it from happening again.
“I knew right away that I was feeling the same feelings, but you start lying to yourself and start looking at yourself in the mirror like no, it can’t be,” Lesnar commented about when he felt the illness returning. “My diet has carried me this far. I’m feeling okay, but there’s always that somebody knocking on the door saying that this illness, it’s something that needs to be addressed.”
The symptoms surrounding this latest bout with the debilitating disease started for Lesnar a few months ago while he was filming Season 13 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” The Minnesota resident did his best to battle through it, but in the end his body couldn’t be pushed any further.
“I’ve been dealing with some symptoms for the last I would say three months. I felt it a little bit while I was filming ‘The Ultimate Fighter,’ and the only way to treat the symptoms is by getting on antibiotics, and allowing the antibiotics to take its course, and to fight the infection,” Lesnar explained.
“During the course of this training camp I felt another infection, got another CT scan done on my stomach where it was visible inflation, and due to that what it does to you, it doesn’t allow me to train to my full capability. I was forced to make a decision to go back down to the doctor this week to figure out how far this thing was along, and what it does, it drains my entire body down.”
Doctors have been hard at work to try and help Lesnar in his recovery, but are also at a loss because diverticulitis is rare in men in their 30s, much less dealing with an athlete whose body is literally his livelihood.
When he felt the effects of it this time, Lesnar, who admits he was probably around “85 or 90 percent” when he fought Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez, just couldn’t push any further with Junior Dos Santos right around the corner.
“Diverticulitis is an illness that never goes away. It’s something that I’ve dealt with since my first occurrence and have been battling with it. It’s something that’s in your colon for the rest of your life. I’ve been able to maintain it to a point where it’s tolerable, but I was able to go through two training camps, Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez, and made it through those camps without having a bout or any symptoms,” Lesnar said.
“It just didn’t allow me to train the way I need to train for a number one contender’s bout.”
An athlete and a competitor for almost his entire adult life, Lesnar understands how to fight and work towards an ultimate goal. Right now, however, it’s not a heavyweight fighter standing in his way, or a wrestler trying to pin him to the mat.
It’s a disease that is robbing Lesnar of his dream to compete in the UFC and fight the best fighters in the world, but he’s not backing down from this challenge just like he won’t back down from fighting anyone in the Octagon.
“I’m fighting a different fight here than having to give up the fight on June 11. My health is number one, my family is number one, and it was a hard decision. I’m choked up about it,” Lesnar stated.
“I told my wife and everybody else around me about a week ago I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. We’ve got to find a solution to this.”
Lesnar is still in discussions with his doctor on whether or not they’ll opt for surgery or continue with the treatment to deal with the diverticulitis. He says there’s no certain timeline for the decision, but he’ll deal with it soon enough.
One thing Lesnar wanted to deal with right away on Thursday, however, is getting the word out that despite a second go round with diverticulitis, fans haven’t seen the last of him in the Octagon.
Brock Lesnar the fighter is far from finished.
“I’m telling you one thing, I’m not retiring. This isn’t the end of my fight career,” said Lesnar. “This is something that I believe, and I have a strong faith, there’s a solution to every problem. I’ve just got to find the right solution to fix this problem. I love this sport and I love what I do, this isn’t the end of Brock Lesnar. This is a speed bump on the road, and trust me I’ve incurred a lot of speed bumps throughout my career, and this is one of them.
“I’m here to tell everybody, because I’ve been here before, I want to state that this is not an end of my career. Far from it.”