After fighting his way back from a severe 2009 bout with diverticulitis to successfully defend his UFC heavyweight title against Shane Carwin last July before losing the belt to Cain Velasquez, Brock Lesnar has been forced out of his UFC 131 main event against Junior dos Santos after being stricken once again with the intestinal ailment.
Lesnar and UFC President Dana White revealed the news on a media teleconference Thursday afternoon.
“Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar has diverticulitis again,” said White. “He spent all day yesterday over at the Mayo Clinic and he’s gone through a bumper to bumper of tests. This thing acted up on him again, he’s got some serious choices to make in the next couple of weeks on whether to fight this thing or take the surgery.”
“I want to thank the UFC and Mr. White, and I want to apologize to Junior dos Santos and Spike TV,” said Lesnar. “This is an unfortunate situation for me. I dodged a bullet about two years ago with diverticulitis by not having the surgery. But diverticulitis is an illness that never goes away. It’s something that I’ve dealt with since my first occurrence and have been battling with it. I’ve been able to maintain it to a point where it’s tolerable, and I was able to go through two training camps. I’ve been dealing with some symptoms over the last three months, and during the course of this training camp, I felt another infection and got a CT scan done on my stomach, where there was visible inflation. It didn’t allow me to train to my full capabilities, and I was forced to make a decision to go back down to the doctor this week to figure out how far this thing was along. It’s not as serious as last time. It just didn’t allow me to train the way I needed to train for a number one contender’s bout. I am forced with the decision to either have surgery or to deal with this for the rest of my life. So I’m fighting a different fight here. It was a hard decision (to pull out of the fight), I’m choked up about it, but there’s nothing I can do.”
Stepping in for Lesnar to face dos Santos on the June 11th event in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada will be Carwin, the former interim UFC heavyweight champion. Carwin was originally scheduled to face Jon Olav Einemo on the UFC 131 card.
“Junior is a serious fight and not the type of fight that you would normally take on a 30 day notice but I have a dream to chase and I do not have a lot of time to chase it,” wrote Carwin on a blog on his website Shane-Carwin.com. “This is an opportunity to put myself in contention for the title. I know my Coaches will have me ready so I have everything to gain.”
Carwin also sent his best wishes to his former rival.
“I hope Brock is able to recover. I look forward to facing him again one day.”
That sounds just fine to Lesnar, who insists that we have not heard the last of him yet.
"I’ll tell you one thing: I’m not retiring. This isn’t the end of my fight career. I have a strong faith that there’s a solution to every problem. I just gotta find the right solution to fix this problem. I love this sport and I love what I do. This isn’t the end of Brock Lesnar.”
Lesnar and dos Santos have been competing against each other as coaches on season 13 of The Ultimate Fighter reality series on Spike TV.