On this week’s edition of “UFC Tonight,” it was reported Stefan Struve (pictured) has been diagnosed with a leaking aortic valve and an enlarged heart. The heavyweight is in good spirits, but is waiting to see if doctors will clear him to resume his career.
Struve, who is just 25 years old, owns a 25-6 professional MMA record. “Skyscraper” has fought 13 times for the UFC since joining the promotion in early 2009, winning nine of his scraps inside the Octagon.
He was last seen getting TKO’d by Mark Hunt in March. Struve broke his jaw in the contest.
Here is a statement issued by Struve’s manager, Lex McMahon (courtesy of MMAFighting.com):
“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.
Stefan loves the UFC and plans on being involved with company as a fighter and ambassador for years to come. Stefan wants to thank all the fans who have supported him thus far in his career as well as the UFC, Dana White, Lorenzo Fertita, Joe Silva, Dr. Jeff Davidson, the entire staff of the UFC, and his fellow fighters for affording him the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage of the sport of MMA, as well as a tremendous degree of support during this trying time. In particular Stefan wants to thank Dana White, Lorenzo Fertita, & Joe Silva for immediately getting engaged with this issue and providing Stefan access to the best possible medical care. Stefan will be sharing his experiences as he deals with this medical condition in the hopes that he can serve as a role model by helping to create awareness and inspire others to fight through adversity.”