Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2010 | 9:01 a.m.
Thanks to what he describes as a ‘miracle’ and care from the best doctors in the world, Brock Lesnar is finally healthy and ready to return to the octagon sometime this summer.
The UFC heavyweight champion has been out of action since defeating Frank Mir at UFC 100 in July, due to a stomach ailment he says was caused by his poor diet.
After originally being diagnosed with mononucleosis when he pulled out of a November fight with Shane Carwin, Lesnar says it was a severe case of diverticulitis that threatened his fighting career.
“It means I had a hole in my stomach,” Lesnar said. “I didn’t know what was going on, I was suffering for almost a year. I had stomach pains here and there and flu-like symptoms. It left me 60 to 80 percent all last year.”
The condition was unknown to Lesnar until he took a hunting trip to Canada shortly after pulling out of the Carwin fight.
During the trip, Lesnar says he awoke in shock one night and had to be rushed to the nearest hospital, which was about three hours away.
“I had went to bed and wasn’t feeling very well and it just climaxed,” Lesnar said. “That’s when the perforation happened. I woke up in shock and a cold sweat. I didn’t know where I was. It was big time.”
Unhappy with the care he was receiving in Canada, Lesnar says his wife saved his life when she drove him across the border to Bismark, N.D.
While Lesnar wanted to make it clear he has nothing against Canada, he says receiving care from their medical system was probably the lowest moment of the entire experience.
“I hate to bash them, but they couldn’t do a thing for me,” Lesnar said. “It was like I was in a third world country. I looked at my wife and I knew I had to get out of there. She saved my life and drove me 100 miles-per-hour to get me to Bismark.”
At the MedCenter One facility in Bismark, Lesnar learned he had two options of dealing with his ruptured stomach — hope the condition would heal itself or undergo a surgery that would remove part of his colon and end his fighting career.
Lesnar held on to hope that he could avoid surgery, staying in the hospital for an 11-day stretch in which he said he wasn’t allowed to eat, causing him to lose 40 pounds.
After the 11-day hospitalization, Lesnar was told by multiple doctors that surgery was still required and he should prepare himself for the procedure as soon as the swelling around the area went down.
“They wanted to remove the bad section of my colon if the perforation didn’t heal itself,” Lesnar said. “Then they go in and reattach your intestines together.
“If that had happened, I would have probably retired.”
Although surgery seemed inevitable, Lesnar was cleared by his doctors to do light workouts to gain back some of the weight he had lost while hospitalized.
In addition to working out, Lesnar made the necessary drastic changes to his diet, which he says was primarily an all-protein menu in the past.
“I’m a carnivore — whatever I kill, I eat,” Lesnar said. “For years I was surviving off nothing but meat and potatoes. When the greens came by, I just kept passing them. Now, I’m making sure I have a well balanced diet.”
On Jan. 5, he returned to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. and found out the 'miracle' had occurred. With the time and a new diet, his stomach had completely healed itself.
“The doctors told me I had just got a winning lottery ticket,” Lesnar said. “They couldn’t find any signs of problems. There’s always a possibility of something happening again, but he told me as long as I’m doing the same things I’ve been doing I won’t ever see him again.”
The return of the heavyweight champion puts an interesting spin on what has become one of the most dynamic divisions in the UFC.
Since Lesnar’s future had been unknown for so long, the UFC has scheduled an interim championship fight between Mir (13-4) and Carwin (11-0) on March 27 at UFC 111.
It’s now expected that Lesnar (4-1) would face the winner of that fight, most likely this summer.
It means that in his first fight back, Lesnar could face Mir for the third time in his career. The fighters split the first two meetings.
After losing to him last July, it’s been well-known that Mir has made Lesnar a target of his — a fact Lesnar commented on Wednesday.
“Absolutely, I don’t think I beat him as bad as I could have,” said Lesnar, when asked if he would look forward to seeing Mir again in his first fight back. “For me to get my hands on that stalker again. Frank Mir made me the mission of his life. It’s been awhile since I had a stalker, but we’ll take care of that if I ever face him again.”