At last night’s UFC 175, one fight did not go on as scheduled. Heavyweight fighter Stefan Struve was scheduled to face Matt Mitrione. The fight was set to be Struve’s big comeback after spending over a year on the shelf after he was diagnosed with a leaking aortic valve and an enlarged heart. Struve was medically cleared to fight ahead of the bout, but beforehand he apparently suffered a panic attack and collapsed. As a result, UFC and medical officials decided it was best to cancel the bout. UFC President Dana White said that both Struve and Mitrione would be paid their show and win purses for the bout at a post-fight media scrum. The incident was another unfortunate event for Struve’s career, but his own admission that he needs to reevaluate his career is a good move.
Stefan Struve has over 30 MMA fights in his professional career, and he has a record of 9-4 in the Octagon. With all that in mind, it is easy to forget that he is still a young man at 26 years of age. His height, stature and the manner with which he fights in the cage belies his youth. Unfortunately, Struve not only had to deal with a debilitating heart ailment, but also the tragic passing of his father. Struve released a classy statement about what took place last night and that he plans to reevaluate his health and career.
In his statement Struve said, “I will take some time to myself to evaluate my health and career. Thank you for your support and understanding.” When Struve was diagnosed with a heart ailment, it seemed like his career could potentially be over. He avoided open-heart surgery in the hope that he would eventually return to the sport.
Ultimately, what Struve does next is his decision, but maybe this is a sign from the universe that it is time to hang it up. Pro fighters go through gigantic mental and physical sacrifices. And despite his young age, Struve is arguably already old in the sport. He is no less of a man by deciding it is best for his health not to return to the cage, just as he is a beast when he walks into one.