Late last summer, UFC heavyweight contender Stephan Struve was diagnosed with a leaking aortic valve and an enlarged heart. Although the condition had little effect on his performance, at 25, his future in MMA was very much thrown into doubt.
"I honestly don't think he ever will [fight again]," said UFC president Dana White at the time. "
However, Struve stayed positive and followed a recommended medical course of action, taking medication for two months, and then reassessing.
October he returned to light training.
Last month his medical team cleared him to return to fighting.
Earlier this week it was announced he would be fighting Matt Mitrione at UFC 175 on July 5th in Las Vegas, NV. The card will be headlined by UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida.
Now Struve has done his first interview, with MMAWeekly's Ken Pishna,
“In Macau, when Mitrione fought, he was really interested (in my heart condition), so I explained to him what was going on and all that. So he knew where I was at,” said Struve. “Then, a couple months later, even before I’m cleared to return to the Octagon, you tell Joe Silva that you want to fight me for my comeback fight?”
“I wasn’t even cleared to fight yet. Everybody knew I was on the way up, things were looking good, but I wasn’t cleared yet. Everybody knew that I had a heart issue and then you call up the matchmaker without knowing I’m cleared and then you ask for the fight?
“The only way you would do that is because you think you have a better chance of winning that fight. In my opinion, that really is pathetic and Matt Mitrione made this personal.”
“It’s just kind of pathetic. I would never do something like that. Big mistake by him because I’m gonna absolutely show this guy.”
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