Lou Giordano joins Derrick Lewis ahead of UFC 244

Derrick Lewis reveals potential ‘life-threatening’ condition on MMA Show

On the most recent episode of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on ESPN Feb. 10, Helwani spoke with several participants from the UFC 247 event this past weekend. One of those guests was heavyweight Derrick “Black Beast” Lewis, who defeated Ilir Latifi by unanimous decision at the event in his hometown of Houston.

The interview went as planned, for the most part, talking about the fight itself along with some stock questions Helwani had for all his guests like whether or not they thought the UFC should implement live scoring during fights. But at the end of Lewis’ interview, he dropped an unexpected bomb that took the conversation in a different direction.

Derrick Lewis revealed that he is dealing with an undisclosed medical condition that could affect not only his career but potentially his life. Lewis said he could not say exactly what the issue was yet but he should be seeing more doctors to get more clarity within the next week or so.

Here is how that part of the interview between Helwani and Lewis went:

Helwani: “You’re going to be available for March 28th if something happens with that main event — Ngannou-Rozenstruik?”

Lewis: “Yeah, I’ll be available. But also, my coach wants me to get something checked out that came up through my medicals and stuff like that that has been hindering my training. We’re supposed to be keeping it on the down-low, but I have to get it checked out. The UFC doctors know what it is and the doctors here in Houston already know what it is. It’s just something that’s been going on that I still have to get addressed.”

Helwani: “Is it serious?”

Lewis: “Oh yeah, it’s really like life-or-death situation serious.”

Helwani: “Are you serious?”

Lewis: “I’m dead serious.”

Helwani: “Come on.”

Lewis: “Yeah.”

Helwani: “Life or death?”

Lewis: “Yes.”

Helwani: “Are you messing with me? You’re messing with me.”

Lewis: “I’m dead serious.”

Helwani: “Can you tell us what it is?”

Lewis: “It’s something that happens to a lot of athletes. It doesn’t matter if you’re healthy or not. It’s something that still could happen to you at the drop of a hat. That’s all I can say.”

Helwani: “Are you worried?”

Lewis: “No, I’m not worried.”

Helwani: “When will you find out if everything is OK?”

Lewis: “Probably, like, next week I’m going to go to the doctor. Maybe this week. So we’ll see.”

Helwani: “Could this affect your career?”

Lewis: “It could affect my life.”

Helwani: “Right, but even if they say it doesn’t affect your life, could it affect you from fighting?”

Lewis: “The doctor actually told me that he didn’t think I should have taken this last fight.”

Helwani: “Really?”

Lewis: “That’s what he had said. He said in a situation like this that he don’t think I should fight. So I got a second opinion from the UFC doctors and they ran it over there and kind of checked everything out and they said it shouldn’t be a problem.”

Helwani: “Were you worried about it in the fight?”

Lewis: “Yeah, in the first round, it happened. And then I was like, ‘OK. I’m not going to think about it.'”

Helwani: “What happened?”

Lewis: “The situation that’s going on.”

Helwani: “Alright. You don’t want to tell us what it is.”

Lewis: “No, I don’t want to tell you what it is.”

Helwani: “OK, OK. I respect that. But I appreciate you letting us know. And you said this week or next week you’ll go get it checked out and you’ll have a better sense for how serious it is?”

Lewis: “Yeah, for sure. I’ll get it checked out and then I can really step my training up because I really couldn’t do too much. I did enough to go 15 minutes and to fight the way I did.”

Helwani: “How long did you know about this?”

Lewis: “It’s been really happening for over a year, but I finally just went to the doctor and got it checked out a month ago.”

Helwani: “OK. Well, I wish you the best, man.”

Lewis: “Yeah, I should be good.”

Helwani: “Alright, alright. I tend to get nervous in these situations so I’m sorry for prying, but you’re a great guy and I want you to be healthy and happy.”

Lewis: “Yeah, I know. I will. My wife is worried about it, but I’m not. Not too much.”

Helwani: “OK, good man. Well, I wish you the best, sending positive thoughts your way. And if you can, keep us posted because it’s a little cryptic here. I’m not really sure what we’re talking about so now I’m a little worried as well with your wife. Obviously not on the same level, but keep us posted if you can, and I always appreciate you coming on the show.”

Lewis: “Yeah, Something will leak out about it. I’m sure you guys got them snitches.”

Helwani: “Nah, no snitches. Snitches get stitches around here.”

Lewis: “Yeah, it will come out.”

I think I speak for all when I say hopefully Lewis — one of the UFC’s most marketable and entertaining fighters — is OK. Wishing him nothing but the best and staying hopeful that he can enter the Octagon again soon.

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Pat Donohue
Pat Donohue has been covering sports for more than 10 years. He is a former Washington Redskins beat reporter and has been covering the University of Maryland football and basketball recruiting and daily beats for Rivals.com since 2013. Pat graduated from Maryland with his master's degree in journalism and has received bylines in publications such as USA TODAY Sports, The Philadelphia Inquirer, SB Nation, and Yahoo! Sports. As a wrestler for 13 years in Pennsylvania, Pat has a deep appreciation for MMA and a keen understanding of the sport.