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Newcomer forced out of UFC 290 with rare brain disease last-minute, headed for surgery - ‘Blessing in disguise’

Earlier today (Fri., July 7, 2023), Josiah Harrell was forced out of his scheduled fight against Jack Della Maddalena, which was set to go down at UFC 290 tomorrow night (Sat., July 8, 2023) in Las Vegas, Nevada, for what at the time was an “undisclosed medical issue” discovered after the official weigh-ins (full results here).

Now, a new report from ESPN has revealed that a mandated pre-fight MRI discovered that Harrell was diagnosed with moyamoya, a rare brain disease that is caused by blocked arteries at the base of the brain. That is according to “Muscle Hamster’s” manager, Maurice Blanco, who told ESPN that Harrell will need to undergo surgery to try and remedy the issue.

Blanco, who represents First Round Management, described the discovery as a, “blessing in disguise.”

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Thankfully, the MRI was able to detect the issue that had previously gone undiagnosed, preventing further potential issues had he been allowed to compete. The MRI scan is a mandate for all fighters competing under the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s jurisdiction.

Harrell agreed to step in on short notice to face Maddalena after Sean Brady bowed out of the Welterweight matchup with a staph infection.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 290 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard bouts on ABC/ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 290: “Volkanovski vs. Rodriguez” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For the updated and finalized UFC 290 fight card and PPV lineup click here.

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