LAS VEGAS -- Stefan Struve, a 26-year-old heavyweight who was attempting to return to the UFC from a heart condition, blacked out in his locker room shortly before his fight against Matt Mitrione at Mandalay Bay on the main card of UFC 175. UFC president Dana White canceled the bout, saying, "It's not worth risking" his health.
Struve was diagnosed with a leaking aortic valve last year, but told reporters in the build-up to Saturday's fight that he had recovered and faced no additional risk.
But White said he had an incident in the locker room and was taken to Valley Hospital.
"His heart rate started speeding up and all this crazy [expletive] started happening to him," White told Yahoo Sports at cageside as the Marcus Brimage-Russell Doane fight was going on behind him. "The doctors went in there and they think he had almost a sort of panic attack. They hooked him up to all the machines and he seemed OK, but it's not worth risking it. It's not worth it, so we pulled the fight. We're taking him to get more tests done."
The UFC released a statement on Struve's condition:
Stefan Struve suffered a non-life-threatening, near-fainting spell backstage. Afterwards, the medical team did not feel he was fit to compete. With his health and safety in mind, he’s been removed from the card and is currently under the care of the medical staff. We will provide further updates as they become available.
“I found out what happened and went to talk to Stefan," Mitrione said in a statement. "He was still in his chair and was very apologetic. He’s such a competitor. Obviously health and safety come first.”
No other details were immediately available.