Josiah Harrell has been forced to withdraw from Saturday’s highly anticipated UFC 290 event.
On Friday, Harrell was pulled from the event due to what the promotion initially described as a «medical issue.» But several hours after Harrell’s scheduled promotional debut against Jack Della Maddalena was cancelled, his manager shed new light on the fighter’s medical situation.
Maurice Blanco of First Round Management revealed that Harrell had been pulled after scanners discovered an abnormality during a routine pre-fight brain MRI.
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Harrell was diagnosed with moyamoya disease, which is «a rare blood vessel disorder in which the carotid artery in the skull becomes blocked or narrowed,» according to the Mayo Clinic.
Blanco noted that Harrell’s MRI «could have saved his life.» He also mentioned that Harrell will likely undergo brain surgery in the near future.
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Harrell did not know he had the disease, according to Blanco. He was set to make his MMA debut at UFC 290.
Blanco also expressed his gratitude for the medical testing requirements of the UFC and the Nevada Athletic Commission.
He noted that while Harrell had fought in three other states during his professional career, he was not required to undergo any pre-fight medical examinations.
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In 2019, bantamweight Vince Murdock was pulled from his scheduled debut after a pre-fight medical showed he had moyamoya disease. Murdock then underwent brain surgery. He then went through a rehabilitation process and returned to the sport in 2020.
Blanco said that as of Saturday, Harrell remains on the UFC’s roster.