It looks like Stefan Struve will return to the Octagon after all.
Since Struve was returning from more than a year out of action after being diagnosed with a heart condition, speculation that this would spell the end of Struve's career was near-instantaneous.
But on Monday's edition of the MMA Hour, Struve's manager, Lex McMahon, said that Struve will return to competition.
"I've subsequently spoken with Dana [White] several times and his question has been ‘Does Stefan want to fight?'" McMahon said. "I've spent a fair amount of time with Stefan since the canceled bout, and his response was 100 percent, he definitely wants to fight.'"
According to McMahon, the physical symptoms Struve experienced were unrelated to his heart condition.
"He had essentially what boiled down to a panic attack," McMahon said. "It manifested itself physically, he had a fainting episode backstage before his fight occurred. I don't think he took full account of the emotions to step into the Octagon. I think he had some lingering questions about where health was even though he'd been cleared by specialist. All those things came together in a perfect storm and unfortunately it created a tremendous amount of anxiety, and it caused him to faint. ... Stefan has already seen several doctors, the doctors have reiterated there is nothing physically wrong with him, it was more the psychological response which created the physical manifestation of him fainting."
McMahon says that he will work with Struve and the UFC to target a next fight which doesn't place Struve under as much of a spotlight as the scheduled Mitrione fight, which would have been held on the main card of one of the year's biggest events.
"We'll work with the UFC maybe to map out an approach which doesn't put so much pressure on him for his first bout back he was on one of biggest cards of year for a featured bout," McMahon said. "I think people take for granted how incredibly, how much pressure is associated with that, from the media responsibilities, to realizing you're being seen by millions of people, it was a lot for that young man."
There's no set timetable yet for Struve's return.
"My guess is you'll see him sooner than later," McMahon said. "Dana's been super supportive of that and he's kind of left it up to us to figure out what the timeline to be. We'll have something Stefan pretty soon."