LAS VEGAS -- Bermane Stiverne said he knew something wasn't right with his body on Saturday before he stepped into the ring at the MGM Grand Garden to defend his WBC heavyweight title against Deontay Wilder.
Stiverne was unable to warm up properly and kept asking trainer Don House to hold the mitts for him. It turns out that his suspicion that something was incorrect was right on the money.
Stiverne was hospitalized for two nights at University Medical Center after dropping a unanimous decision to Wilder in a fight in which he was passive and didn't throw early enough punches. He was severely dehydrated and was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos suffered from rhabdomyolysis following his loss to Cain Velasquez at UFC 155 in 2012 in Las Vegas.
Rhabdomyolysis is a condition in which the muscle fibers die and are released into the blood stream. One of the causes is extreme physical exertion. Stiverne was severely dehydrated even in the days leading up to his bout with Wilder, and after the fight, his urine was a brown color.
"There were [doping control] agents there and I had to do my post-fight test, and I noticed that my urine was very dark," Stiverne said. "I thought it was blood. I called my manager [Camille Estephan] and [trainer Don] House over and told them. But when I got to the hospital, I found out it wasn't blood. It was from the muscle damage."
Stiverne told Yahoo Sports that he felt he trained well, but wasn't paying enough attention to his fluid intake. He began training in August for the bout and pushed himself hard for a long time.
He said he saw openings to punch in his fight with Wilder but was unable to react or he reacted slowly.
"The thing that's frustrating is that I could see everything, but I couldn't pull the trigger," he said. "Or I pulled the trigger and it was a second late and he was able to move out of the way. But I saw the whole thing and that bothered me. But it ws really hard for me. I had to force myself to throw punches."
Promoter Don King said he hopes to be given a rematch sometime down the line by Wilder so that Stiverne can show what he can do. King said he's not trying to block Wilder's next fight but said he wanted to make sure Stiverne gets the opportunity to compete when at fulll health.
He said it was a shell of Stiverne in the ring. Stiverne said he felt dizzy in the dressing room after the fight and was desperate for water.
"I like Deontay and have great respect for him and this is nothing against him," King said. "But this is about an injustice. Bermane wasn't healthy and wasn't able to do his job and he deserves the chance to show the world what he can do, so we want a rematch."