Stefan Struve Out Indefinitely Due to Heart Condition

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2013

May 26, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Stefan Struve reacts while being interviewed after winning by submission over Lavar Johnson (not pictured) during the UFC 146 at the MGM Grand Garden event center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Heart-wrenching news is coming out regarding UFC heavyweight Stefan Struve. On UFC Tonight, the 25 year-old UFC veteran announced that his MMA career is at risk of a terribly abrupt ending.

His manager released a statement, some of which is excerpted below (the full press release can be seen here):

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...

At the direction of his doctors, Stefan has now been released from the hospital and has resumed light cardiovascular exercise. Stefan fully appreciates the significance of the condition he has been diagnosed with, however, he is optimistic about the eventual outcome and fully plans on living a long, healthy, active, happy life and eventually returning to competition in the octagon for his quest to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion...

Struve has been fighting with the UFC since 2009. During that time, he has amassed a respectable 9-4 record. The 6'11" Dutchman has long flirted with title contender status, but most recently suffered a lopsided knockout loss to Pride veteran Mark Hunt. Impressively, only one of his 13 UFC fights have gone to a decision.

"Skyscraper" has long been a key component in the middle of the UFC's heavyweight roster. He has been a steady presence to filter out lesser competitors, beating the likes of Lavar Johnson, Pat Barry and Paul Buentello. However, he has traditionally struggled with true contenders, suffering losses to Junior dos Santos, Roy Nelson, Travis Browne and Hunt.

An enlarged heart is a serious medical concern for athletes. According to USA Today, every year 125 athletes under age 35 die suddenly from complications stemming from the condition. It is worth pointing out, however, that this does not completely ruin Struve's career; both these conditions are treatable.

Even so, this development will keep him out of the cage for the foreseeable future. The condition is serious and, as his manager points out, he is taking his doctors' advice seriously. 

Hopefully Struve is able to recover fairly quickly. Keep an eye out for more developments as they become available.