The story coming out of North Dakota has something of a Christopher Reeve feel to it (figuratively speaking, that is): The sudden fall of a UFC superstar who could have been superman. The shockwaves are amplified by the suddenness of the fall, which uncannily mirrors Lesnar’s meteoric rise. And the news vacuum created by Lesnar’s refusal to disclose his illness, feeds the tabloid-inflected imagination.
Unless you have been living under a rock: It is not news that Brock Lesnar, former WWE star and current heavyweight champion of the UFC had been taken ill towards the end of October with flu-like symptoms, later diagnosed as mononucleosis. As a result, he was forced to post-pone his heavyweight title defense against Shane Carwin on 11/18/09. The bout was rescheduled for UFC 108 on 01/02/09 before the latest bombshell. The news that is convulsing MMA right now is that Brock Lesnar collapsed at his hideaway in Canada with a condition far more worse that mononucleosis. The prognosis, health and career-wise, is reportedly poor.
The UFC President, Dana White, who made the bare-bones announcement during a post-UFC 105 fight conference in Manchester England on Saturday (11/14/09) did not mince his words beyond not disclosing what was ailing Lesnar at the latter’s request:
“(Brock Lesnar) is not well and he is not getting any better. . . . He’s very, very sick and he’s going to be out for a while. He’s got a lot of problems.”
“He’s got mono and he’s got something else wrong with him. I know what’s wrong with him, he just doesn’t want me talking about it,” White said.
“He’s in a hospital up in North Dakota somewhere right now,” said White. “He went to Canada and some bad stuff happened to him, so we’ve got to figure it out.
“He doesn’t want to talk about it publicly, but he’s in bad shape. He’s not well and he’s not going to be getting well anytime soon.”
“I am worried about it. ….You know, I can’t really talk about it right now, but he’s in rough shape. He’s in really bad shape … and we’re going to have to do some stuff to take care of this guy. He is not well and he’s not getting any better.
“He doesn’t have cancer or AIDS or anything like this, (but) he’s got some problems, man.
On the issue of the heavyweight title, White made hints at coming changes if Lesnar does not recover soon, which is probably a public relations overture for what’s coming down the pike business-wise.
“If it’s a long wait, we’re going to have to do something,” he said. “We’re going to have to …. the last thing I ever want to do is strip a guy who won a title. That’s the last thing I want to do. I don’t know if we’ll have to do an interim or what we’ll do to fix it.” (Dana White as quoted by The Canadian Press, TSN and Sherdog.com)
Reports after the original flu-like symptoms, had hinted at swine flu as the culprit. But when rumors started making the rounds about a delay of the UFC 108 heavyweight fight on 01/02/10, an announcement went out about Lesnar having mononucleosis which could further delay his return.
That was before the bombshell of Lesnar’s collapse in Canada and his undoubtedly dire health condition. But just how bad is he? Well, you know its bad when Dana White starts hinting at interim heavyweight titles. What that means in short is that an interim heavyweight title will be set up, pending Lesnar’s recovery – IF there is a recovery, and nobody knows that for sure at this point.
This southerly turn of events is stunning in its human and career dimensions (for reasons already mentioned). As of UFC 100, Brock Lesnar was the biggest star in the UFC . The shock waves of his meteoric ascent had lapped the far reaches of the MMA universe. Reason? Lesnar’s sudden ascent, not to mention his size, freakish strength and unbridled theatrics.
The blogsphere will probably be buzzing with speculation about Lesnar’s illness, but it will probably be irresponsible for anyone to print anything without credible information. But this will probably never stop the cycle of recycled spit being circulated in a self-sustaining loop. From that perspective and that alone, it might have been smart for Lesnar and his camp to grab the media bull by the horns and dispense the news on their own terms. That way the news and the media circus that is bound to surround it, would not be parenthesized by UFC business bulletins.
End of a career? The question that is being bandied about sounds most rhetorical at this point in time. The most probable scenario being that we will never see Lesnar in the octagon again … at least not in the form and guise of the gladiatorial tear that he was quickly evolving into. Meanwhile, Lesnar will sooner than later have to come out with the news of what is ailing him because neither he nor the UFC can keep a lead on this much longer. We believe that the announcement will be made by Lesnar and or a Lesnar family representative if things follow proper course.
Meanwhile, we wish Brock Lesnar well and hope he will get better soon. When the stakes are this high, life and one’s health matter more than anything else.
The promise to help Lesnar, on the part of the UFC, sounds like the right kinds of noises. Beyond philanthropy, it speaks to the magnitude of what Brock Lesnar is currently facing. What remains to be seen is what is behind UFC’s verbal promise.
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