Dutch heavyweight Stefan Struve had a backstage scare at UFC 175 on Saturday when he became light-headed and suffered a panic attack resulting in the cancelation of his main card bout against Matt Mitrione.
The seven-foot tall 26-year-old was diagnosed with a leaking aortic valve and an enlarged heart in August of last year, but after receiving treatment for the condition, he was cleared by doctors and the Nevada Athletic Commission to compete. After being evaluated on Saturday, doctors cleared Struve and released him.
“He’s doing great. The doctors cleared him and let him go,” said UFC president Dana White during the UFC 175 post-fight press conference (watch a video of White's comments here). “He has this condition that every specialist and doctor has cleared him and checked him out. The commission approved him. It reminds me of the Evander Holyfield thing. The guy is going to have to retire, and then he’s back. I guess tonight he had something like a panic attack. He started hyperventilating. He almost passed out. He started hyperventilating. His blood pressure dropped. It’s just one of those weird things. I’m just glad he’s okay.”
Considering his medical history, White thinks the No. 12 UFC heavyweight should contemplate retiring from mixed martial arts.
“I think it’s something that he really needs to think about,” said White. “You meet some of these guys that love to compete so much that they’ll overlook certain things. I think tonight showed that he’s not one of those guys.
“He started to black out and starting having a panic attack like there was something wrong with his heart again, I think. This is all just what I’ve heard. I think he needs to do some soul searching. He’s a super talented guy. He’s a great guy. We love the guy. I don’t know. We’ll see where he goes from here,” added the UFC president.
Mitrione and Struve both received their fight purses despite the fight’s cancelation.