WWE/TNA: Hepatitis C, a Growing Concern in the Pro Wrestling Community

The Doctor Chris MuellerFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2011

Devon Nicholson, the man accusing Abdullah of spreading Hep C
Devon Nicholson, the man accusing Abdullah of spreading Hep C

Hepatitis C is a disease that is contracted through the blood stream.  It can be transferred a couple of different ways, but one of the most common is when two people with cuts come into contact with each other.

This is not a new disease by any means, but lately, it has been getting more attention in the world of Professional Wrestling.

First, I feel like I should give a brief description of the disease for those who are unfamiliar with it.  Hepatitis C is a virus that affects the liver.  Symptoms can be almost nonexistent for years after infection, but as many as 85 percent of those who contract the virus suffer the devastating effects.

One of the main problems people with the disease have is the scarring of the liver, which can lead to cirrhosis and even liver cancer.

The disease is not a death sentence by any means.  On average, more than half of those who contract Hep C can be cured with a combination of different drugs.

The most recent news story about Hep C is about Abdullah the Butcher.  Abdullah is a legend in the wrestling business, having wrestled for over six decades.  He was recently inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

The story going around is that a wrestler by the name of Devon Nicholson.  Nicholson claims he contracted Hep C after Abdullah cut him during a match with a blade he used on himself.

Abdullah has refused to take a blood test at this point, which tells me he probably knows he has it.  The fact that he was inducted into the Hall of Fame rubbed another legend the wrong way, one Superstar Billy Graham.

Graham also has Hep C and he has stated that Abdullah does not belong in the Hall of Fame because he intentionally spread the virus to other wrestlers through the sharing of blades and cutting other wrestlers without their knowledge.  Anyone who has ever cut themselves on accident with a razor will tell you that it is barely noticeable...until you see yourself bleeding.

Another prominent wrestler who has Hepatitis C is Sean Waltman, otherwise known as X-Pac.  He was diagnosed in 2009, but has continued wrestling.  He does not blade in matches anymore in order to not spread the disease.

Now it appears that TNA superstar Desmond Wolfe may have also contracted the disease.  The rumors have not been confirmed yet, but his absence from TNA in recent months has some asking questions.

Wrestlers are not the only celebrities who are affected by the Hepatitis C Virus.  Mickey Mantle also suffered from the disease, before dying of liver cancer.

Other notable names who have been diagnosed are Ken Watanabe of Inception fame and Natasha Lyonne from the American Pie franchise.

Even America's silicone sweetheart, Pamela Anderson, has gone public with her diagnosis.

Someone who you might not care had the disease was James Earl Ray, the man who confessed to assassinating Martin Luther King Jr.

While getting diagnosed is not signs of certain death, it something that should not be taken lightly.  The symptoms can be unnoticeable until it is too late.  Having an annual screening can help to detect the virus early, and with treatment, a person can even be cured.

Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler has found success after being diagnosed by taking interferon treatments. 

In wrestling, the disease has gotten a lot of attention because wrestlers are known for cutting themselves in matches to give the appearance of injuries.  This has led to controversy.

In short, Hepatitis C is something that can be overcome if caught early, but it is still a health risk that every wrestler should be careful to watch.