Former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar has announced that he will not be participating in next month's title elimination fight due to a flare up of diverticulitis.
The digestive disorder occurs when tiny pouches bulge out from the lower intestine and become inflamed, potentially leading to fever, nausea, constipation and severe abdominal pain. Some 300,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized each year with the condition.
Lesnar, 33, previously battled a severe case of diverticulitis two years ago, when doctors performed surgery to close a perforation in his intestine that had been leaking fecal matter into his abdomen. He returned to the ring in 2010, but began seeing symptoms of the disorder once again about three months ago.
"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 told MMAWeekly
“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," he added. "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.”
This past March, a study was released showing
that cases of diverticulitis increase greatly during the summer season, though researchers admit they're at a loss to explain why.
"It's there whether you live in a warm environment or a cold one. There's something about the summer," said Dr. Rocco Ricciardi, author of the study. One hypothesis is that there may be some type of summer food that is aggravating symptoms, but so far tests have not revealed a clear culprit.
As for Lesnar, currently ranked #2 in the world, he's taking this time to decide if he needs surgery again or may just have to deal with the symptoms for the rest of his life.
“I’m telling you one thing, I’m not retiring," he told MMAWeekly
. "This isn’t the end of my fight career. 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."