Just a reminder to all those fighters out there: get yo paper as fast as you can because you never know what the future may hold. Dan Hardy found this out the hard way with his wolf heart and now Stefan Struve may also have career ending heart issues. Originally reported upon a few weeks ago, Dana White has confirmed Struve’s leaking aortic valve is as serious as it sounds and could very well end his career:
When asked on Wednesday if he thought Struve would ever fight again, here’s what White told 106.7 The Fan’s Chad Dukes:
“Yeah, what he has is a serious condition, you know, and I honestly don’t think he ever will,” White said.
“He’s got a rip in his heart,” he explained. “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.”
Now Dana White has never been one to shy away from speculating on career ending ailments, but in this case he could very well be right. An enlarged heart with a rip in it is serious business, and while you can probably fix the leak, the entire heart sounds like it’s just as freaky as Struve himself. Big guys often have big heart problems too, and if this is something genetic there’s probably not a lot that can be done. On the upside, Struve is so young that he could take several years off to do whatever he has to do and still come back and have a decent career.
That’s assuming a doctor would ever clear him again. Or that the sport wouldn’t pass him by. Struve was already hanging onto his UFC career more because of his size and spunk than any real contendership abilities. With the talent pool in the UFC steadily going up, I don’t see him doing so well unless the extra years add some Semmy Schilt style beef to his beanpole physique.
After a commanding TKO victory over Yushin Okami last night, middleweight Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza told the post-fight presser he would fight anyone in the 185- or 205-pound divisions, except for teammate Anderson Silva. Sort of:
“Anderson is someone I don’t want to fight,” Souza said. “He’s someone who’s in my camp. He’s my friend. He helps me, and I help him. So I wouldn’t be a good character if I said I wanted to fight him.”
Do you hear that faraway rumble? Maybe it’s a train or a herd of buffalo. No, wait—it’s the word “but”:
“But,” Souza added, “I’m a UFC fighter, and I hope the UFC never gives us this fight, but I’m ready to face anyone in the world in my weight class and also at 205.”
It was two buts! He made his desire not to fight Anderson Silva clear, but it wasn’t exactly an adamant refusal. Souza went on to emphasize his happiness with the UFC and his willingness to take whatever fight Joe Silva might give him, calling himself “an employee who loves to work.” Please don’t make me fight my friend, Jacare seemed to say, but okay.
And high up in his mountain castle, Dana White began to laugh. Until the UFC gets more openly gay fighters/TV deals with remote islands, he can’t make two people who truly love each other fight to the death. Jacare and Silva, who train together in Brazil, might be the next best thing.
Jacare’s remarks certainly left room for that possibility. Specifically asking to fight the greatest middleweight of all time might not make Souza “a good character,” as the somewhat wobbly translation put it, but going along with a UFC that insisted would cement him as the good employee he says he is.
If only Chael Sonnen were available. That would be an exciting fight, but unfortunately the gangster from West Linn has other plans. Probably Jacare should just fight his friend in Vegas while we scream and throw beer on them.
Watch out, Bellator. Gypsy Curse Lady seems to be taking an interest in you lately. The tournament format is ripe for injury disruption, and now the company’s Fight Master reality show final between Joe Riggs and Mike Bronzoulis this Saturday has been delayed due to a “partial orbital bone fracture and retina detachment injury.” Scary!
“My sparring partner threw a high kick and I blocked it, but his toe went through my head gear,” said the 30-year-old Riggs on Friday. “I was in horrible pain and they had to pry my eye open to see the damage.”
Riggs underwent a four-hour surgery for the injury that night, he said, and spent four days recovering in an Arizona hospital. Riggs said the surgery was successful and his physician has already cleared him to train again.
The bout will be rescheduled as soon as Riggs has recovered, wrote Anthony Mazzuca, Bellator’s Director of Public Relations, in an email to SI.com. Mazzuca added that Bellator hopes to reschedule the bout before season nine comes to its close in December.
“I can be ready [to fight] in October or [on] Nov. 2, if they need me,” said Riggs. Bellator will promote its first-ever, pay-per-view event on Nov. 2 at the Long Beach Arena in Southern California.
You get the feeling Riggs would still be fighting this Saturday if doctors let him – this might explain why an injury that happened three weeks ago has only become public and resulted in the finals being scrapped a week away from the fight. The guy is already back and training, which seems a bit insane to me, but I guess when you’re talking about dudes beating the shit out of each other in a cage, insane needs to be looked at in relative terms.
Now what does Bellator do with the finals? Stick it on one of their weekly cards or use it to pump up their PPV? It might be tempting to do the latter but it may also piss off the casual fans who watched through the season but aren’t going to be eager to shell out cash to watch things wrap up. Maybe Bellator could do something a bit innovative – put the fight on PPV, and then package it into a final Fight Master episode for airing on Spike afterwards. Those that reeeally wanna see it live can, and those that just wanna tune in on Spike won’t feel like they’ve been bait and switched.
When UFC Matchmaker Chael Sonnen matched himself with Rashad Evans last week, there were just a few slight problems: the matchmaking took place over the fighters’ personal Twitter feeds, this may or may not have been cleared in advance by UFC management, Chael Sonnen is not actually a UFC Matchmaker, and the proposed date and event number could not be confirmed. Other than that, nothing seemed amiss, and the matchup seemed to have an extremely good chance of actually happening—a greater chance, for example, than any fight involving Ken Shamrock or War Machine would have. It was a sure enough thing that Sonnen had a poster designed in advance.
So it was no surprise when official word came during Wednesday’s pre-fight show that Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen will indeed fight at UFC 167, the UFC’s 20th anniversary event, this November. How much of the motivation to call out Evans came from Sonnen, and how much came from the UFC wanting to float a trial balloon or build hype through linking Twitter with TV exposure? Is Sonnen really unafraid of blow darts? (I hear those things can really hurt.)
I am left feeling unsure about how all these Twitter beefs and callouts are generated. In the “puss u are” drama between Dana White and Tito Ortiz, they seem to genuinely enjoy going at it; on the other hand, the contrived feel of this Twitter callout with specific event info followed by an immediate fight announcement a week later seems transparently promotionally motivated. I guess there’s nothing technically wrong with using Twitter this way, but anyone who could find the time to use Twitter for this seriously needs to discover how many pictures of poop are tweeted. It’s an amazing world out there.
(Dick has been using his head for Fightlinker since 2011. He also uses it for sex [NSFW boobs].)
Welp, my adventures in Reno betting didn’t go all that well but that’s how the cookie crumbles when you’re throwing money down on underdogs. That doesn’t mean the night was a complete wash – there were a decent amount of great fights sandwiched between a few dogs (Silverio / Zeferino, I’m looking at you fuckers) and some great finishes to boot. Below you’re watching Junior Hernandez go to sleep via a RNC from Lucas Martins – the only finish from the prelims. After the jump, some of the best stoppages from the main card.
(gifs via Zombie Prophet, our unofficial source for gifs when we’re on the road and can’t make our own)