Gordon Ryan had to take a leave of absence from competition – effectively retiring from BJJ for a short period of time – due to an unknown stomach issue.
He felt better last year and was able to compete again successfully, notably winning double gold at ADCC and a string of superfights. He now has released an update where he has announced a relapse in his condition which will keep him away from competition indefinitly.
“Hi everyone- quick update for everyone who has been asking. I’m not sure when I’ll be competing again. When I got back from my Abu Dhabi trip I came down with a severe case of strep throat which ended with me in the hospital because my throat swelled shut. ”
“Doctors also couldn’t figure out how to cure it since no one ever fails penicillin for a strep infection. In all, I did 7 days of amoxicillin and within a day my throat was back to square one. Then, I did 10 days of penicillin and within 2 days off I was in the hospital with my throat swollen shut. In the hospital, they gave me a shot of penicillin and another 10 days of penicillin, which i failed. ”
“Then I switched to 14 days of clindamycin, which worked. So all in I was on over 40 days of antibiotics straight plus a shot of penicillin. During this time I was contagious and everyone were in big camps so I couldn’t even go to training in fear I would infect them as well. In addition, my ears were in so much pain from my throat that I couldn’t elevate my heart rate at all without having them want to explode and getting a pounding headache.”
“So I’ve been completely inactive for a longer time than I ever have since I started training. As expected, my stomach has relapsed pretty bad and my nausea and lack of appetite have re-appeared, so I’ll need to deal with that, but first I’m headed into surgery today for a tonsillectomy and to fix my severely deviated septum. Just wanted to update everyone on what my competition schedule looks like. I’m hoping to be back in the next few months ”
But, what is the actual problem?
How did Gordon become sick and why did it take so long for him to get back on track? He explained it all on an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience MMA Show.
Namely, he contracted a staph infection back in 2018, which has been an ongoing problem ever since. And the way he battled staph was through antibiotics… Which he used to take almost non-stop for over a year.
That amount of antibiotics wiped out everything in his stomach. Both the bad and the good bacteria:
And it ended up being a massive fungal growth in my small intestine, a huge bacterial imbalance in my stomach… It was misdiagnosed as a gastroparesis.
Gordon’s been going to all the best doctors in the USA for 4 years, but was unable to find a solution to his stomach issue:
And I was like, okay… If I can’t use these doctors to figure it out, I’ll just deal with it and hope that it’ll become better.
But it just got worse over time, because the fungal growth kept getting worse and worse. And it was affecting my kidney function, it was just awful.
That’s the reason why he briefly retired from grappling. For, in his own words, Gordon was unable to even hold a conversation:
I was 24/7 nauseous. The best way that I can describe is – the worst hangover you ever had. Like, you want to throw up to feel better, but you can’t… That was my baseline.
And imagine you go to training, with the worse hangover you’ve ever had. And then you have to run a marathon, 30 minutes later. So, the more tired you get – the worse it gets.
Luckily enough, Mo Jassim recommended Gordon to visit his doctor, who was able to understand that he didn’t have gastroparesis.