Gordon Ryan Gives Health Update, Hints at Return to Competition

Earlier this year, top pound-for-pound no-gi grappler Gordon Ryan shocked the jiu-jitsu world with the announcement that he was taking an indefinite leave of absence from competition in order to address chronic health issues. According to Ryan, he had been suffering for years from consistent nausea and stomach issues that made eating and training difficult, and unless he could get those issues under control, he could no longer compete at the highest level.

Recently, Ryan visited new doctors and provided an update on the status of his health issues, and hinted at a possible return to competition.

I just visited with a doctor @mojassim80 recommended and he did the most thorough and advanced testing there is. I have a follow up call with him on Friday to discuss the results, but after a phone conference with my amazing people over at @ways2well, it seems pretty certain we have a rock solid diagnosis AND and solid treatment. The cause of this was prolonged antibiotic use for staph infections. I was caught in a vicious cycle where I would have staph and use antibiotics, they would kill the good bacteria in my stomach and bad bacteria and yeast started to overgrow. Naturally, my body tried to address that and fight that issue, making me more susceptible to infections, meaning more staph, meaning more antibiotics, meaning more damage to my stomach. The issue is that I have a massive yeast and bacterial overgrowth so big that it is now starting to affect my kidney functions. Some of my levels were 50x what they were supposed to be. This back up in my small intestines is apparently what has been causing me to experience deathly nausea and inability to eat for the last 4 years, as well as mimicking symptoms of gastroperisis. Once we can rebalance the micro biome in my stomach and replenish the bacteria needed to fight the yeast infection, I should be good to go. Fingers crossed we get it in order, which we should. For 4 years I had the best doctors in the country telling me I was fine, now I seem to finally have an answer. This is the best possible news myself, my team, and my fans could have received, and the worst possible news for the competitors in this sport. Stay tuned

For fans hoping to see Ryan back to competing, this is great news. Ryan seems to have found doctors that have diagnosed his issue and have a treatment plan in place. Moreover, Ryan’s last line gives a strong hint that he intends to return to competition soon: “This is the best possible news myself, my team, and my fans could have received, and the worst possible news for the competitors in this sport.”

If he is able to get back to competition, Ryan has ahead of him one of the most anticipated matches in jiu-jitsu history in an ADCC superfight against Andre Galvao. Galvao announced his retirement following his 2019 ADCC superfight win over Felipe Pena, but recently agreed to return to defend his superfight title at the 2022 ADCC championships. After Galvao agreed to return to competition (but before it was publicly announced), Ryan announced his leave of absence.

Will Ryan be able to return to competition by the 2022 ADCC championships in September? If so, he will face his rival Galvao in what would be the culmination of a years-long feud.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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