Mixed Martial Arts judge, journalist
Kyle Shiely has spent the last 10 years studying the sport and business of Mixed Martial Arts. As editor of the No Holds Barred e-newsletter, he's one of the early MMA journalists.He is a licensed MMA judge for the state of Minnesota. Read more about Kyle Shiely
UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar won't be going to a rally for government-run health care anytime soon.
Lesnar, who announced his return to competition yesterday following a bout with a career-threatening intestinal infection, commented to the media on Wednesday about his illness, his experiences with health care and the changes he is making.
Lesnar compared his time at a hospital in Canada to being in a third world country. “They couldn’t do nothing for me. It was like I was in a third world country,” Lesnar told the media during a telephone press conference on Wednesday morning. “I had to get outta there.”
The comment followed a question about what was the lowest moment for Lesnar during his three-month battle with diverticulitis.
“Probably the lowest moment was getting care from Canada,” Lesnar said. “I hate to bash them. Our health care system is a little radical, but listen, we’ve got the best doctors I believe in the world here. It does need some restructuring, but I don’t believe a total reform is the answer.”
When pressed by a Canadian reporter as to where he had been in Canada, Lesnar stated he did not want to talk about it any further. “The only reason I’m mentioning this, I’m mentioning this to the United States of America because President Obama is pushing this health care reform and obviously I don’t want it," he said.
“I’m a conservative Republican and I’m glad to see that finally the state of Massachusetts has got a Republican. We got the Republican seat up there. I’m speaking on the behalf of Americans. I’m speaking on behalf of the doctors in the United States that don’t want this to happen and neither do I.”
Lesnar said he was not attacking Canada or the Canadian people.
“Don’t get me wrong. I love Canada, I own property in Canada. But if I had to choose between getting care in Canada or the United States, I would definitely want to be in the United States. I love Canada. Some of the best people and best hunting in the world.”
The UFC heavyweight champion told reporters the problems at the hospital in Canada were not the fault of the medical staff.
“The hospital I was at, it wasn’t their fault. They had some machinery that wasn’t working, that couldn’t do its job. And I needed to have it done. And so we went where we could have it done,” Lesnar said. “I wasn’t at the right facility.”
Lesnar recounted the night he left the hospital against doctors orders and credited his wife, former WWE diva and Playboy model Rena Mero, aka Sable, with saving his life.
“I knew that I had to get out of there. My wife saved my life. She got me out of there and drove 100 miles an hour to get me down to Bismarck, North Dakota to Med Center One,” Lesnar said. “I was in excruciating pain. That’s when I made the phone call to [UFC President Dana White] cussing him out and telling him to send a jet for me.”
Lesnar had nothing but praise for the doctor who helped him in North Dakota, Dr Brent Bruderer. “[T]hat doctor there saved my career and saved my life.”
Lesnar said he spent 11 days in the hospital in Bismarck. According to Lesnar, Dr. Bruderer performed a small procedure where they stuck a needle through his stomach and drained 14 CCs of fluid from three pockets which had formed.
Lesnar also praised the staff at the Mayo Clinic, where he had received follow-up care after his stay at Medcenter One. He praised the Clinic as one of the examples why he believed U.S. health care is better than Canada’s, and mentioned during his time there he saw people from all around the world come to the Mayo Clinic for treatment.
““We have the best hospital in the United States at the Mayo Clinic.” Lesnar said. “The main thing is I’m sitting here, I’m healthy and I got the right care that I needed to.”
Lesnar said his health problems had come on because of diet and he has been learning what he needs to eat in order to keep from having problems again in the future.
"What got me here was a total protein diet, not enough fiber. I totally changed my diet, got on some natural healing medicine, and was just doing a lot of praying," Lesnar said.
"I'm a carnivore. I'm not a big fan of PETA. I'm a member of the NRA, and whatever I kill, I eat. Basically, I was just for years surviving on meat and potatoes. When the greens came by, I just kept passing them."
Lesnar is aiming to be back in the Octagon sometime this summer and starts training today. “I’m doing all the right things. I’ll be back in the gym Thursday morning. I’m going to have a mini-camp. I’m getting ready for anybody and everybody," Lesnar said.
Brock Lesnar’s return is huge for the UFC and, in some ways, for guys who will never even fight him. The cancelation of his November fight probably cost the UFC anywhere from 250,000 to 500,000 purchases on UFC 106. That show had Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffith on the card as well. For guys like Ortiz that get a dollar or two for every PPV that is purchased, Lesnar missing that show cost Ortiz anywhere up to a million dollars in pay, possibly even more. Without Lesnar, the show did about 360,000-375,000 buys. Lesnar’s last fight in July of 2009 did 1.75 million buys, though there wasn’t nearly as much interest in the Lesnar-Shane Carwin fight at UFC 106 as there was in Lesnar avenging his one loss to Frank Mir at UFC 100.
Lesnar is targeting a return this summer with the belief he could fight the winner of the Shane Carwin-Frank Mir match that takes place on March 27 as early as this May. UFC definitely wants him to fight as soon as possible as they would like to get two Lesnar fights this year.
As for Lesnar, I am sure he is rooting for Mir to beat Carwin on March 27. Not only is it an easier fight for Lesnar, but a rubber match has the chance to do unprecedented business with those two taking trash about each other for two straight months.
Finally, Lesnar mentioned during the press conference that the doctors told him that he had been suffering from this infection for probably at least a year, and that it had kept from having the energy to be at 100% in his training and fighting. So as Dana White likes to point out, if Brock is dominating guys like Mir and Randy Couture at only 60%, imagine what he’s going to do now that he can go at 100% again.