A year-and-a-half after seeming to overcome a life-threatening battle with diverticulitis, Brock Lesnar is battling the disease again. The former Ultimate Fighting Championships‘ heavyweight champ and 2000 NCAA Division I wrestling titlewinner has withdrawn from June’s UFC 131 bout with Junior dos Santos, and has been replaced with another former collegiate mat champ, Shane Carwin.
Diverticulitis is a condition that occurs when pouches form on the colon and become inflamed. The condition can be treated with antibiotics, or the section of the colon with the pouches can be removed surgically.
In a conference call Thursday, Lesnar, 33, said he had spent 14 hours undergoing tests and meeting with doctors Wednesday at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Lesnar is considering surgery; however, according to the former University of Minnesota matman, retirement is not an option.
In fall 2009, Lesnar had to withdraw from a heavyweight title defense against Carwin at UFC 106 because of health issues that turned out to be diverticulitis. However, the two former college wrestling champs met in the Octagon in July 2010 at UFC 116, where Lesnar submitted Carwin, the 1999 NCAA Division II heavyweight champ for Western State, in the second round. Lesnar lost his UFC title to yet another former college wrestler, Cain Velasquez, at UFC 121 on Oct. 23.
“I dodged a bullet about two years ago with diverticulitis, at that time not knowing what the problem was,” Lesnar said on Thursday. “I dodged the bullet by not having the surgery. Diverticulitis is an illness that never goes away. It’s something I’ve dealt with since my first occurrence, and I’ve been battling with it. It’s something that’s in your colon for the rest of your life, and I’ve been able to maintain it to a point where it’s tolerable.”
Lesnar, a native of Webster, S.D., wrestled for two years at Bismarck State College in North Dakota, then, as a junior, transferred to Minnesota, where he was a two-time Big Ten champ in 1999 and 2000, and an NCAA finalist those two years. At the 1999 NCAAs, Lesnar lost to Cal State Bakersfield’s Stephen Neal (who recently retired after a decade as guard for the New England Patriots). One year later, Lesnar defeated Iowa’s Wes Hand to win the heavyweight crown at the 2000 NCAAs.
Want details on Lesnar’s latest announcement? Check out Kevin Iole’s story for Yahoo! Sports.
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