On Tuesday night it was revealed that UFC heavyweight Stefan Struve’s MMA future and, more importantly, his life were at risk due to an aortic leak paired with an enlarged heart. The fighter’s management sought to clarify his condition after UFC Tonight broke the news about his ailment.
In a statement to MMAFighting:
“Stefan Struve has recently been diagnosed with a leaking aortic valve and an enlarged heart and was hospitalized for a week to undergo testing to determine the best course of treatment. The doctors found that Stefan has a bicuspid aortic valve, wich means that his aortic valve only has two leaflets, instead of three.
The aortic valve regulates blood flow from the heart into the aorta, the major blood vessel that brings blood to the body. In combination with the enlarged heart it causes his heart to only pump 70 percent of the blood into the aorta and then the rest of his body, and the remaining 30 percent ends up back in the heart chamber. After consulting experts in both Holland and the United States, it was decided to treat the condition with medication for the next two months and asses the effectiveness of that treatment protocol. After those 2 months, the doctors will have an answer on what the best treatment options are.
At the direction of his doctors, Stefan has now been released from the hospital and has resumed light cardiovascular exercise. Stefan fully appreciates the significance of the condition he has been diagnosed with, however, he is optimistic about the eventual outcome and fully plans on living a long, healthy, active, happy life and eventually returning to competition in the octagon for his quest to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion.”
Struve has not fought since his devastating TKO loss to Mark Hunt at UFC on FUEL TV 8. While “The Skyscraper” fully intends to attempt a comeback, he will face long odds to make it back into the cage since the medical conditions ailing him are not uncommon in people who reach his height. Despite this, Struve has always been a great fighter both inside and outside of the cage.