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PFL’s David Michaud: Rory MacDonald fight cancelled, congenital heart condition revealed

David Michaud
Ryan Loco, PFL

MMA veteran David Michaud’s career could be over after he announced the cancellation of an upcoming fight with Rory MacDonald due to a congenital heart condition recently discovered by doctors.

Michaud, 32, broke the news Thursday on his Twitter account. He was set to face MacDonald on April 29 in the tournament-based PFL’s second Season 3 event, but said he has been diagnosed with a congenital bicuspid aortic valve with dilated aortic root. As a result, he said he’s at risk for a potentially fatal heart episode if he continues fighting.

In a text message to MMA Fighting, Michaud wrote he learned of the condition as he underwent a standard pre-fight medical checkup. An EKG came back “abnormal” several times, he wrote, requiring more tests so he could be cleared by the New Jersey Athletic Control Board, which regulates the April 29 event at Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J.

“I’ve talked to a handful of cardiologists and they all told me fighting with it or any contact sports in general could prove fatal, as the aorta can tear or rupture from impact,” Michaud wrote. “This was all just in the last five, six days so as of right now, I am not sure what I am doing from here.”

The PFL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Michaud has fought for several major MMA promotions, including the UFC, Bellator, LFA and most recently the PFL. He made it to the finals of the Season 2 welterweight tournament, winning three of four bouts before falling to Ray Cooper III in the finals.

MacDonald’s fight against Michaud marked MacDonald’s scheduled debut for the promotion after a stint in Bellator, where he won the welterweight title before ceding it in a rematch against current champ Douglas Lima; he also came up short in a bid to win the middleweight belt now held by Gegard Mousasi.

Michaud is not the only fighter whose career has been jeopardized by a heart condition. Former UFC heavyweight Stefan Struve was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve that leaked, leaving him with drastically reduced blood flow to his heart. He did not undergo surgery and resumed his career later.

Former UFC commentator Dan Hardy was also sidelined after being diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, though he has lobbied to resume fighting at his own risk.

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