On the heels of the announcement that Brock Lesnar is once again dealing with diverticulitis and been forced out of his UFC 131 fight against Junior dos Santos, speculation on his fighting future is rampant.
Indeed, the sword on his chest that points to his throat is more than just a metaphor.
It is entirely possible that we've seen the last of the former heavyweight champion inside the Octagon has an active competitor. That's not to get all doom and gloom with it, but simply a statement of the difficult road facing the UFC superstar.
Lesnar was initially struck with the illness back in 2009. It was so bad at that time that doctors believed he may need surgery to repair his insides and that his fighting career would end as a result.
However, Brock believes in "miracles" and that's exactly what he was given. His illness subsided without the aid of highly invasive -- and dangerous -- surgery and he returned to defend his title against Shane Carwin before losing it to Cain Velasquez.
It appears, though, that Lesnar was still feeling the effects of his illness during those bouts, as well, and he is now in the same predicament he was less than two years ago: facing potential surgery that may very well end his career.
Or would it?
Brock battled diverticulitis once before and the gastrointestinal ailment is a devastating foe. I've had diverticulitis and ended up having approximately 13 inches of my large intestine surgically removed while residing in intensive care for several days after the surgery.
Diverticulitis is weak places in the wall of the colon that give away under pressure to form marble sized pouches that protrude through the colon wall. Mild cases of the ailment can be cured, as a rule, via rest, diet (little, red meat, no nuts or seeds, etc), and via the use of antibiotics.
If the above listed treatments are unsuccessful, surgery becomes a more likely option. At some point the body must be freed of the toxins, essentially poisons, that take over one's internal organs.
When I finally went to see a specialist in gastro issues I was diagnosed with diverticulitis and my large intestine had perforated and I was poisoning myself and had, according my my gastronologist, about 30 days to live or so it was told to me months after the surgery. Surgery was performed a few days later, the perforation was removed and the healthy tissue was reattached.
I got lucky and have a dandy scar on my gut to prove it. The Good Lord had other plans for me.
However, I was never a world class athlete as is Brock Lesnar nor was I earning a living inside the Octagon in a highly demanding physical and mental war of attrition.
Make no mistake that diverticulitis is a serious piece of business especially if it goes undetected or ignored as yours truly attempted to do for too long.
There is a chance depending on how much damage the diverticulitis has done that Brock may have to have surgery to remove the 'bad stuff' but that's not a career ender especially for a man as driven and as gifted as Lesnar. Some pundits are saying that Brock's age will work against him and for the average guy that could well be true.
However, Brock Lesnar isn't the average guy. Trust me on this assessment. There's nothing 'average' about Brock Lesnar and when he does return to the Octagon it will be a massive story for the UFC and all MMA fans. It should also be duly noted that Lesnar will not come back for merely a pay day but instead will come back ready to resume his journey to regain the UFC Heavyweight Title.
Depending on what the medical personnel say, BTW Brock is seeing the world's best doctors at the Mayor Clinic, and what they suggest as treatment for Brock's issues, I fully expect the former NCAA and WWE Champion to return to the Octagon sometime in 2012.
Lesnar made it clear on a recent conference call that he is "not retiring" and the end of his fighting career is nowhere in the near future.
One can't help but wonder though, if even the mighty Brockness monster will be struck down by this truly terrible disease that has stricken him once more.
Rest assured, he's in the best hands money can buy but will it be enough?
The Brock Lesnar that rode "The Texas Crazy Horse" Heath Herring could be gone. "The Next Big Thing" that came of age against Randy Couture might never be back.
Will we ever see the beast that obliterated Frank Mir at UFC 100 again?
Time will tell.