April 20, 2024

MMA’s Ian Heinisch is announcing an indefinite hiatus due to health issues

Ian Heinisch’s fighting career has been put on hold.

On Thursday, the UFC middleweight announced that he is taking an indefinite hiatus from MMA and removing himself from the USADA testing pool to focus on his health, as he is suffering from a wide range of serious health issues.

“I’m making the decision right now to take a step back and get out of the USADA pool, do some peptides, and some more treatments and get healing,” Heinisch said in a video post on Instagram. “That’s what I’m trying to do right now. Yes, it’s tough, but it’s a long journey and I have to do this. I can’t keep making myself worse. I know I can’t.”

Heinisch (14-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC), who was last seen in action in July 2021, has had health issues throughout his UFC career and they have gotten worse over time. It all started with skin issues that would turn into more and more problems.

“I started noticing some health issues that I didn’t really know where they were coming from,” Heinisch said. “I started with skin problems. The doctor said it was folliculitis, but it would turn into staph and sometimes MRSA. I was prescribed antibiotic, after antibiotic, after antibiotic. I know other fighters are going through this. I know it. Eventually my stomach was completely broken. I had blood in my stool for over a year.”

Heinisch blames antibiotic overuse for later developing ulcerative colitis – which also left him in an anemic state. He was eventually able to get his ulcerative colitis under control with the help of his wife, who is a nurse. However, around the same time, he also began to have problems with high prolactin levels and thyroid problems, which were eventually diagnosed as Hashimoto’s disease.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland. The disease causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue, leading to a decrease in hormone production.

But that’s not all for Heinisch. A lot of concussions and head trauma started coming up. He hit a peak after his last fight where he lost to Nassourdine Ilavov by TKO.

“After my last loss, I came back to training about a month later, I took a head kick, I fell,” Heinisch said. “I wasn’t knocked out or anything, but these side effects were horrible. I felt like I was walking on a boat. I felt like my brain was disconnected from my brain. The emotions running through me were so crazy. I thought my career was over.”

Heinisch, who lives in Florida, would seek stem cell treatment in Mexico while taking a break from fighting. He saw his health improve and tried to train again in Colorado, thinking he was back to normal, but he wasn’t.

“I tried so hard, man. I tried so hard,” Heinisch said. “I went back to Colorado and started training near my recovery center. (I thought) it would be beneficial for me and keep my training. The first few weeks went very well. The third week, I hit a knee in sparring. For four days I would feel that if I turned my head I would fall over. The balance was off. ​​​​​​It would mess with my feelings and my character and everything.

“So I took a step back and came back to Florida. I said let’s give it one more week, one more shot. My mind is playing tricks on me. I felt good, and this voice would say to me, ‘Why aren’t you training, you have to fight.’ I want to go back to training, to be beaten, and I hate fighting, I hate my life. What I want to feel is normal.”

Heinisch promises to return to the fight and is optimistic that he will overcome these health problems. He is unsure of a timeline for his return.

Heinisch has been fighting professionally since 2015 and has competed in 19 bouts, with seven of those in the UFC. He began his UFC career in 2018 on a three-fight winning streak, but has since gone 1-4 in his last five fights.

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