Monday’s news of Brock Lesnar’s decision to pull out of his UFC heavyweight title defense against Shane Carwin on Nov. 21 seemed to have shocked everyone.
Including the champion’s own training camp.
According to Lesnar’s training partner Chris Tuchscherer, Lesnar said he was feeling better from a three-week flu as recently as Sunday before announcing to his team in Minnesota that he was going to pull out of the fight.
“He actually practiced (Sunday) and thought he might be feeling alright. He said, ‘Wow, I think I’m doing OK today,’” Tuchscherer said. “(Monday) he got here and it was the same old stuff — fatiguing right away, not being all there.
“After practice we were all sitting around, we were actually going to come back later at night to work out again, and he basically told us, ‘Hey guys, I’m going to pull out of this thing.’”
Tuchscherer said Lesnar began feeling flu-like symptoms about 25 days ago and didn't practice last week in the hope that rest would end the illness.
Although there's no confirmation that Lesnar has the H1N1 flu, commonly referred to as swine flu, Tuchscherer said he thought it seemed likely.
“There’s a lot of cases of that around here,” Tuchscherer said. “There are a lot of confirmed cases of it. I don’t want to say it’s that for sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me.”
Yahoo Sports broke the news that the bout had been canceled after receiving confirmation from UFC president Dana White on Monday.
“He said he’s never been this sick in his life,” White told Yahoo. “He said it’s been going on for a long time and he just hasn’t been able to shake it.”
Carwin said he was "very disappointed" with the news via his Twitter account.
He also said it looked like the fight would be rescheduled for UFC 108 on Jan. 2 and that he was sympathetic to hear of Lesnar’s condition, as he has suffered from H1N1 before.
The post read: “Looks like it is postponed till Jan. 2. I had h1n1 myself and I understand how devastating it can be.”
The fight had been highly anticipated as Lesnar (4-1) and Carwin (11-0) are two of the biggest and most electric fighters in the heavyweight division. Lesnar is a former NCAA Division-I national champion wrestler, while Carwin is a former Division-II national champion.
The UFC has announced that the rematch between Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin will now headline the Nov. 21 event.
Tuchscherer said Lesnar seemed disappointed when he announced the news and that he had been looking forward to defending his title again.
“He was very excited for this fight. He was always in good spirits,” Tuchscherer said. “I could tell he was kind of let down today and he told us he felt really bad.”
Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected].