Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight Stefan Struve has not seen action for over a year, following heart trouble that nearly ended his mixed martial arts (MMA) career. After finally securing clearance to return to the fight game, he was booked to throw hands opposite Matt Mitrione.
Unfortunately, the fight never materialized.
That's because "Skyscraper" fainted backstage, not long before he was set to do the deed at the UFC 175 pay-per-view (PPV) event over Fourth of July Weekend. The official diagnosis was anxiety, and his manager is hoping the promotion can re-book him for a fight that carries less pressure when he inevitability tries again.
From his conversation with the MMA Hour:
"He had essentially what boiled down to a panic attack. It manifested itself physically, he had a fainting episode backstage before his fight occurred. I don't think he took full account of the emotions to step into the Octagon. I think he had some lingering questions about where health was even though he'd been cleared by specialist. All those things came together in a perfect storm and unfortunately it created a tremendous amount of anxiety, and it caused him to faint. We'll work with the UFC maybe to map out an approach which doesn't put so much pressure on him for his first bout back he was on one of biggest cards of year for a featured bout. I think people take for granted how incredibly, how much pressure is associated with that, from the media responsibilities, to realizing you're being seen by millions of people, it was a lot for that young man. My guess is you'll see him sooner than later."
Struve reportedly has the support of UFC President Dana White.
The good news is, there is no shortage of low-key fight cards available in the coming months (like this one), thanks to the promotion's overseas expansion. In addition to events televised on FOX Sports 1, there are several Fight Pass-exlusive fight cards only available online.
It's as good a place to start as any.