For nearly two years, one of mixed martial arts’ biggest draws has been forced to battle serious health issues.  Reoccurring battles with diverticulitis have all but derailed the career of former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.  As a result, a number of critics have speculated that his most recent encounter with the digestive disease will force Lesnar to retire after only seven professional bouts.

The former WWE superstar was forced out of a planned UFC 131 fight with Junior dos Santos in June, after the pair had coached against one another on The Ultimate Fighter.  Rumors swirled that Lesnar wanted to return to professional wrestling, rather than compete inside the Octagon.  Then the news broke that Lesnar was facing many of the same problems that forced him out of a title fight against Shane Carwin in late 2009.

Lesnar triumphantly returned to health and defended his belt in July of 2010, but would fall victim to current champ Cain Velasquez later that year.  Lesnar hoped for a rematch against Velasquez with a victory over the Brazilian dos Santos, but with the recurrence of the disease, Lesnar instead opted for surgery in May.  At the time, Lesnar vowed that he would not retire and that he would find a way to gain control over the disease.

Following the surgery, which removed a 12-inch section of Lesnar’s colon, Lesnar’s MMA career largely entered a state of limbo.  The rumors and speculation have continued to grow with each passing day.  Could Lesnar return and challenge for the belt yet again?  Would the disease force Lesnar to retire at age 34, just four years into his MMA career?  Many questions remain unanswered.

UFC President Dana White originally stated that Lesnar’s return would be targeted for early 2012, and Lesnar recently released a video through his sponsor declaring that he was back to health and that he feels like a “new man.”  This video immediately sparked talk of when Lesnar would return to fighting.  Some fueled the fire by claiming Lesnar would be facing former Strikeforce champ Alistair Overeem or have a rubber match against Frank Mir at UFC 140 this December.

(Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

However, multiple sources close to his camp tell a different story about the former champion’s condition.  According to the sources, more than one doctor has informed Lesnar that he should no longer compete in the sport due to the stress that training and fighting puts on his body.

Could this mean that one of MMA’s biggest superstars will be retiring, rather than continuing his career?  It’s not out of the realm of possibility.  At the same time, could Lesnar ignore the doctors and fight anyway?  Certainly.  Regardless, the revelation does paint a gloomy picture of Lesnar’s future.

Never the type to back down from adversity, Lesnar’s video message suggests that he will in fact ignore the doctors’ advice and continue fighting.  Having overcome diverticulitis once before, a second victory over the disease would not be out of the question.  Lesnar’s persona portrays someone that would only quit the sport on his own terms.  Thus the question looms, at what cost would that decision be to his health and family?

Even with a planned return to the cage in early 2012, according to one of the sources, Lesnar might even be warming to the idea of retirement.  Certainly, Lesnar must be weighing the toll that a continued career would have on his long-term health.  For Lesnar, the question could be, “Is it worth it?”

The Midwest-native has already proven his resiliency by coming back from the disease once before, but at some point, the strain of being a professional athlete may be too much for Lesnar’s body to handle.  Unfortunately for the sport, its fans, and the UFC, they may have to face the reality that Lesnar may have to choose his health and family over headlining pay-per-view events sooner rather than later.

Top Photo: Brock Lesnar (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

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  • james fix

    no matter what way Brock goes he has been one of the best things that has happened to MMA fighing
    Thank you Dana White for letting Lesner fight

    • Tucker1151

      He’s. NOT one the “greatest” things ever to happen to the UFC, 7 fights, not undeated? Give me a break!!!

    • jimb

      Are you kidding? he has been a HUGE joke.

      • WD

        Are you guys kidding? He may be inexperienced with MMA and he may not have the skill set to be a dominant world champion. Sure few fighters exposed holes in his game but he didn’t become champion just by beating some can. Remember he defeated a Hall of Famer. You can whinge that Randy Couture was outsized and he’s aging but this is the same Randy Couture that came out of retirement the first time and got an instant title shot against Tim Sylvia and beat him convincingly for a decision. The greatest fighters aren’t undefeated. I’m not saying Brock is the greatest fighter of all time but he’s played a huge part in the UFC as much as Tito has but just in a shorter time and also became champion in that short stint. An average Joe like myself would be happy if I only had 7 fights and somehow became champion during. So I’m gonna have to agree with James and say that if he decides to retire that he’s been one of the greatest things to happen in MMA. Not “THE” greatest thing, but one of.

        • ron

          Randy Couture is a skilled wrestling.One of the best fighters in the world but even he couldn’t over come the size difference.Brock is big and fast and strong but a skilled fighter he is not.The best fighter is clearly anderson silva yet brock is what the fan want to see.That’s the only reason he is a big deal for mma.How many champions get title shots after 3 or 4 fights.In any sport.Hell the vikings should be the super bowl champs after 3 wins.

    • steve

      Ummm… James ain’t saying he is the greatest mma fighter. He is saying that he brought a lot of fans and focus on MMA as a sport … and he’s right… err at least that’s the way I see it

    • http://nil mike kowalchuk

      lesnar was one big mistake wright from the start the only thing he had going was his size and his bull shit,Dana only saw money and thats is what piss me off about the whole lesnar thing,he should have started at the bottom like every one else he cant fight remember cane made him look like a little girl,one of the best things that have happened to mma you are either out of your mind or you would like to have the big Goof for something a little special,other than dinner and whine,or maybe that will be the first course UN f……king believable,have a good one mate.

      • Dan West

        ….speaking of Goofs…

  • Joann

    I know that diverticulitis is a serious health problem. This is a fabulous athlete and I certainly hope he does not have to retire.

  • http://www.theflodco.com john behrends

    I believe that Lesnar should take it easy the body does have the ability to recover and give this giant options, but rushing it for the sake of fans/media is just plain stupid. and he didnt get where he is at in life by being stupid. I myself think Lesnar is amazing to be able to come into this sport where and when he did and against the high level of the sports best athletes. But that said he should be smart with his body. PATIENTS is more than a virture here its mandatory. all my best to you champ. The bear

  • PJ Plummer

    As a Long time Fan Of MMA I as a 36 Year old Father of 4 is not to Macho to Say That, This brought a Tear to my eyes! I have been a Brock Lesnar fan since his first fight with Min Soo Kim, He has changed the game for me and alot of other fans. When Brock lost the Best to Cain my 9 year old son woke up the next morning and asked me who won and I Reluctantly told him Cain! He cryed like i never saw him cry. Brock is a Private Man but i realy want to let him know the impact he has had on my son’s and my own life. I Realy hope he is Healthy first and can continue to Fight in The UFC! If you do read this Brock ,”THANK YOU FROM ME AND MY BOYS!”

  • wayne

    i think he should take the time needed to heal n strenthen on the inside, no more red meat change up diet 100% food will b only to get healthy n never entertainement,,that sucks but depends on what he wants more n the long run.. dont fight to prove him self no need to..if he knows hes all good on the inside n he wants to fight he should……..

  • Heathy

    Let him go….. he should go back to wwf with all the others…. that’s where he belongs and that is where he fits in….. Colons rule…

  • teresa

    I hope he made it and not to retire too soon I love seeing him fighting on the octagon.. all the best my champ

  • Apon

    Would of love to see Brock fight but his health is more important at this point hope he makes the right decisions and thinks about his own health and family… Honestly I think Brock has already proved his point he’s def a Champion from all the beatings and sacrifices and winning belts hes def a true athlete he showed MMA/WWE what he can do and now is a fan of Brock’s is time for you to step down and think for yourself and your family but that all depends on Brock (The Next Big Thing). Either ways he choose in our eyes he will always be remembered as a WARRIOR!!!!

  • brandon

    I think he should retire. His health and family are way more important than fighting and entertaining the fans. I will be shocked if he chooses fighting over family. He has enough money to live comfortably, his focus should be on family. Im not a fan of Brock the fighter but I would never want to see the person unable to take care of his family or himself.

  • pooch

    I think Brock should take a very long look at his family mostly his children. It is hard enough for fighters who I think will suffer brain damage in the long run, which will be costly and painful to the fighter’s existing family. I think if he is financially set he should bow out gracefully and preserve the life he has with his wife and kids so he can be the father he needs and wants to be. Your life is worth more than another fight that could injury you or perhaps worse kill you.

    Pooch

  • fingerssfv

    He better pay heed, or find himself pushing daisies. He can’t fight, if he’s dead. He’s better off coaching or something, unless his training seems to be working out ok. He could have another bout with that Diverticuli… again and find himself on the losing end, this next time. Then what? No more Brock Lesnar. His ol’ lady will have to find another man. ouch!

  • jimmy

    Brock just got lucky those few fights that he won. if youre a true mma fan you know that as soon as he gets hit in the face he drops. he shouldve never even got the opportunity to fight a title match they gave it to him just because of his name. Brock is not and will never be a true mix martial artist, stick to fake ass wrestling

    • http://bleacherreport gary sutton

      jimmy lets see you get hit like he did from carwin and if carwin would of fought cain wbe fore he fought brock he would of knock cain ass back to mecheco and degosain back to rizil to he got wore down alot again brock so you need to stop hating and put you dumb assin there and see how fast you cry after the first hit and see you turdle like agirl ass wipe

  • Jim

    I am glad to see Lesnar finally go! I am still angry Dana White gave him an easier route to the belt which I believe was unfair to long-standing fighters in the heavyweight division. He should have started out at the bottom and fought all fighters in the division! Proving himself would have given him better experiences and allowed him to earn respect of hardcore MMA fans. The way he and the UFC went about it totally disgusted me. I am glad Cain showed him what MMA is all about.

  • mike

    What about the fact that this article says nothing? Huge Lesnar news? Come on. This isn’t even news. Everyone knows hes been sick. Who did you talk to? Where are your sources to contradict what prenatal himself has said?

    • Rob Tatum

      Mike, I assure you that due diligence was done before publishing. Multiple sources were contacted and confirmed what is posted in the article. The news is that multiple doctors have told Lesnar to not continue fighting. As pointed out in the video link, it appears that Lesnar may ignore that advice and continue fighting.

      • Downie

        Eric Paulson just said this is BS, how about that? Im quite sure your line “brock may ignore that advice” is your way of keeping the door open so you can save your ass when this “news” is soon to be shot down. You Rob, are a perfect example of the problem in mma journalism..

        • Rob Tatum

          Downie, I trust my sources on the information I reported. There’s no “saving my ass” necessary because I never said that Lesnar is retiring. In fact, I do think he will face either Overeem or Mir, as I described in the article (it is even possible that Dana White could announce his return today in his press conference). Your other claim is unwarranted because if you knew me or followed my work, you’d find it to be quite the opposite.

          • Downie

            Dana White just shut down the rumors and called the “news” ridicilous. Just in case you don´t know: letting these false news out really damages your little to none credibility in the field of mma journalism. You just shot yourself in the leg, big time. And on a personal level, it low to stir up BS like this. Just to get more readers. Can you really look yourself in the mirror?

          • Rob Tatum

            No, Downie, he didn’t shoot down the news that I reported. I reported that Lesnar’s doctors have informed him that he should no longer compete in the sport due to the stress that training and fighting puts on his body. I never said Brock was retiring. Did you actually read the article? Did you miss the part where I posted the video that Brock released saying he was healthy? Or perhaps the part where I talked about him facing Overeem or Mir in early 2012? On a personal level, you know nothing about me. What I reported was not disputed because it came from reliable sources.

          • Downie

            Well the problem is, that you don´t have any sources. You leave empty holes in your “walls of information”, and the problem is, anybody can do it. Nobody in Lesnars camp has heard of this(I happen to be in contact with Paulson and Konrad) and if you are as professional as you claim, this same news has been wandering in the internet ever since the first illness came to light of day.

          • Rob Tatum

            I have sources and they are just as close as yours. Believe me, I wish they would go on record, but I also understand their apprehension because of the tight lipped nature of that camp. Trust me when I say that I have been at this long enough to understand your skepticism, but I’m not here for cheap hits. I’m just reporting the information given to me. I actually do appreciate people like you that keep people honest. There are plenty of people out there trying to make a name by starting rumors, but I’m not one of them.

  • Charles

    Like him, or Hate him, Lesnar put ass’s in the seat’s, and I for one did not like him at all then, after his win over Carwin he won me over, I would love to see him fight, but only if he is in good health. Why all the hatters.

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  • Dyl Brew

    Hey Brock. I was born and raised in So Dak but west river. I am 36 was diagnosed in Feb, lost 40 pounds got sicker than hell. Went for what I thought was going to be surgery but it was gone, completly. I had faith nothing else. I believe if you want it bad enough and believe in your prayer, evrything will work out for you. Every body that talks smack about you can kiss a donkey dong cuz your disease is no joke, also how many of them wore the UFC Heavyweight belt around their waist?

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  • twodragunns

    Lesnar has an intestinal condition, not a disease as mentioned in the article above.

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