Brock Lesnar can't stomach the thought of not coming back to the Octagon.
The former UFC heavyweight champion is expected to meet with doctors this week to determine if he's a candidate for surgery to help conquer his two-year battle against diverticulitis, the intestinal disorder that knocked him out of two UFC title fights since he was first diagnosed back in late 2009.
A recent flare-up, severe enough to disrupt his current training camp, forced the Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 13 coach to withdraw from his UFC 131 headliner against Junior dos Santos on June 11, a titanic tilt that was expected to name the division's new number one contender.
It's still going to, but the Vancouver pay-per-view will now feature a main event between Dos Santos and former Interim champion Shane Carwin, with the winner earning a shot at reigning 265-pound kingpin Cain Velasquez in October.
And all Lesnar can do is sit on the sidelines and watch.
But will it be from his couch? Or a hospital bed? The one-time WWE star explains his position to The Fight Show with Mauro Ranallo (via Fight Opinion):
"I’m very disappointed. This has not only mentally but this has been very physically strenuous on me, you know, since my first bout with Diverticulitis in 2009. Having to back away from a fight is not something that I think anybody likes to do, surely me, you know, the first time it happened to me and to fall under the same circumstances, I thought I had this thing beaten and I’m very disappointed but getting past that and understand that my health is very important and I got another doctor’s appointment on Thursday and a consultation where we’re going to go over and just try to figure out the best approach to try to handle this and it may be surgery and it may be not. We’re reviewing other options here to try to help me but, you know, I want to get back into the Octagon sooner than later ... It’s not over ... it’s not a career-ending surgery by any means so I just got to weigh out all my options at this time and see if that is the right thing to do or is there’s any other medication that I can be on or any other thing, I don’t know how I can change my diet any more than I have but we’re looking down all avenues right now and I foresee in the near future that I’ll be able to step back in the Octagon."
Lesnar was initially stricken with diverticulitis during a hunting in trip in western Manitoba, Canada, in Nov. 2009. The 6'3", 265-pound fighter was taken to the Brandon Regional Health Authority, which at the time didn't have a working CT machine.
He spent a weekend in the hospital, bedridden, hopped up on heavy doses of painkillers (morphine), waiting in agony for the staff to diagnose and treat his illness.
That answer never came because of the inability to see what was happening inside his stomach.
So rather than continue to let time "slip away," Lesnar and his wife, Rena (widely known as Sable), made a run for the border, leaving the "Third World" Canadian healthcare (his words, not mine) in the dust and heading four hours to the nearest medical facility in the United States, which was a hospital in Bismarck, North Dakota.
It was a decision that he feels may have saved his career ... possibly even his life:
"I put my faith in the doctors at that hospital. I shouldn't have. It almost cost me my career. It almost cost me my life."
While in North Dakota, Lesnar received a diagnosis within 20 minutes of his arrival, which was none other than diverticulitis, "a digestive disorder."
He eventually recovered and made a triumphant return to the Octagon seven months later, submitting interim heavyweight champion Shane Carwin to once again earn the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world.
That submission came after a disastrous first round in which the Brockness Monster looked more like a helpless victim.
Lesnar stumbled in his next fight against Cain Velasquez, succumbing to a barrage of punches from the crafty American Kickboxing Academy product and losing his title in the process.
He was hoping to regain some lost traction next month against Dos Santos, but instead will have to shift his attention to his future outside the cage, which may or may not include surgery. UFC President Dana White recently projected Lesnar's return in early 2012.
Anyone think he can make that date?