In August during a routine examination, UFC heavyweight Stephan Struve was diagnosed with a leaking aortic valve and an enlarged heart. 'Skyscraper' was born with the condition, and it has affected him little to date, but at 25, his future in MMA has been thrown into doubt.
"I honestly don't think he ever will [fight again]," UFC president Dana White. He's got a rip in his heart. And you know, it's one of those freak things that happen to people, and I love the kid. The kid's got, no pun intended, but he's got unbelievable heart. He's tough as nails. He's the nicest guy in the world, and we're going to do everything in our power to help him through this thing."
Throughout, Struve has maintained a positive attitude. He followed a reccomended medical response to take medication for two months, and then reassess. The Dutchman met with his doctors last week, and today his manager Lex McMahon reached out to MMAFighting's Ariel Helwani with positive news.
"The doctors informed Stefan that the leakage back into his heart has been greatly reduced," said McMahon.
"Additionally, his heart is not as enlarged as it was, but since it is still enlarged, they are attributing it to a condition called 'Sport Heart' or 'Athletic Heart Syndrome,' which is fairly common in athletes who train rigorously for more than one hour per day and is generally considered benign.
"Stefan's doctors have cleared him to return to training so they can evaluate how he responds over the next several months.
"At this time the doctors are suggesting that he continue with the medicine and do not recommend surgery.
"The general prognosis for Stefan's health is very positive. Stefan is focused on returning to the Octagon as soon as he can do so safely."
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