Stefan Struve UFC career in doubt because of leaking aortic valve and enlarged heart

Photo copyright Martin McNeil

The "Skyscraper" may have just been toppled indefinitely.

Terrible mixed martial arts (MMA) news for everyone's favorite seven-foot fighter.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight Stefan Struve has been sidelined indefinitely after being hospitalized with a leaking aortic valve and has been diagnosed with an enlarged heart, according to a report on the most recent edition of "UFC Tonight" on FOX Sports 2.

Struve's manager Lex McMahon released a statement regarding the prognosis:

"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, which 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 two months, the doctors will have an answer on what the best treatment options are."

The 13-fight Octagon veteran has been released from the hospital and will medicate and rest for two months before undergoing additional tests. If all goes well, he hopes to return to competition and "fulfill his dream of becoming UFC heavyweight champion."

Struve was a Top 10-ranked fighter up until his most recent fight, a war against Mark Hunt in the co-main event of UFC on Fuel TV 8 this past March, during which he was brutally knocked out in the third round after suffering a broken jaw. One independent doctor suggested afterward that Struve should consider early retirement because of possible long-term brain trauma (details here).

The heart seven-foot Dutch fighter was never questioned throughout his tenure with the promotion.

That's perhaps the primary reason Struve has long been one of the most popular fighters on the roster. His propensity to brawl and deliver extremely entertaining fights culminated in five post-fight bonuses thus far in his career.

Hopefully, his heart still has several bonuses left in it.

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