Well, well, well. Look who’s awake and responding to stimuli. It’s Cristopher Lencioni! Bravo! But don’t get too excited for him just yet, because he has quite the road ahead of him after suffering a heart attack on June 8 in Spokane, Wash.
Picture this: Lencioni, a spry 28-year-old, collapses and goes into cardiac arrest at a gym during jiu-jitsu exercise while preparing for the now-cancelled fight at Bellator 298. Talk about bad timing. His wife Marca Lencioni spilled all the gruesome details to our friends over at MMA Fighting on Tuesday. According to training partners (the real heroes here), paramedics reached him in what can only be described as an eternity – five to six minutes – and had to shock his poor heart back to life not once but twice before rushing him off to some local hospital.
Now here comes the real kicker: A subsequent MRI reveals that this poor bloke suffered brain damage from said heart attack. Can you believe it? I mean, come on! This guy can’t catch a break even if he wanted to!
And so begins the journey of doctors searching for any signs that their patient isn’t completely fried upstairs. During one visit (because yes, doctors make house calls apparently), “Sunshine” decides it’s time for some show-and-tell and takes his hand out of…wait for it…a bag of ice! Cue applause track!
‘We have to wait,’ say those brilliant neurologists with their fancy degrees hanging up on their office walls like neighborhood watch signs or participation trophies from chess club meetings gone by,” Marca exclaims. You see, they can’t provide a definite answer because it’s all up to Lencioni himself – the man, the myth, the soon-to-be legend (fingers crossed). Because if anyone can come out on top of this mess and defy the odds, it’s our dear Sunshine.
Now here’s where things get really interesting. Brace yourself for some medical jargon: Apparently, doctors suspect that Long QT syndrome might be behind this whole debacle. And guess what? This potentially deadly heart rhythm disorder managed to fly completely under the radar during a routine EKG in 2019. Yes! Can you believe it? What are those doctors even doing?
‘The bottom two chambers [of his heart] weren’t pumping correctly,’ says Marca with an air of disbelief and frustration permeating her voice. It’s like watching a poorly-scripted soap opera unfold right before your eyes.
But hey folks, remember when former UFC heavyweight Shane Del Rosario bit the dust due to good old Long QT just two weeks after suffering a heart attack? Ahh yes, memories… And let’s not forget to mention recreational drugs playing their part in his early demise as well. Though we must emphasize that drugs were merely contributing factors – they didn’t lead him down death row straight away.
Now wait for it…drumroll please…Las Vegas-style showgirls bursting from oversized cake – Lencioni had absolutely no drugs hiding in his system at the time of his delightful heart attack episode! Isn’t that something? No dark secrets lurking within Cristopher “Sunshine” Lencioni!
Despite being sedated beyond belief (seriously though, how many horse tranquilizers does one need?), our brave Bellator fighter apparently decided that sticking to the old adage “get knocked down seven times, stand up eight” was the way to go. He’s been trying to get his groove back and rise from his hospital bed like a phoenix reborn! But alas, he had to be restrained because safety first, people.
But hold on just a minute. Can we all take a moment to appreciate what Lencioni has accomplished so far? A mere 10% of people survive something as catastrophic as this heart attack ordeal. And here he is, moving around (gasp!), attempting feats of standing unassisted (double gasp!), and even managing to drink water for the first time since…well…you know when. It’s enough to make nurses’ jaws drop and Marca lose her mind with joy!
Now let’s talk cold hard cash – because who doesn’t love talking about medical bills that could catapult you into bankruptcy faster than you can say “Crocodile Dundee”? After three weeks in the hospital, those pesky pieces of paper known as medical bills have managed (in their sinister ways) to accumulate over $300,000 in charges. Yes folks, it seems saving lives comes with a price tag these days.
‘Sell my house? Why not!’ suggests Marca whilst contemplating various means of obtaining funds for her beloved Sunshine’s continued treatment. Perhaps she’ll even venture outside American borders if necessary!
She believes that alternative therapies beyond conventional medicine must be explored if there’s any hope for improvement in her hubby’s condition. Stem cell therapy sounds like an intriguing option – even though U.S. medical regulators might frown upon such endeavors.
But, oh, let’s not forget to give a round of applause to those fabulous folks over at Bellator. They’ve been absolutely astounding and remarkably supportive, ready to lend a hand in any way possible during this rough time for their precious fighter.
As for the big question on everyone’s minds – will Lencioni get back in the ring? His wife isn’t ruling anything out. She boldly states that Sunshine has already defied expectations every single day since this chaotic episode began. So who knows what incredible feats he might achieve next?
In conclusion: Cristopher Lencioni – the man who can take a beating and bounce right back up (or at least try his darnedest). Keep fighting, Sunshine!
Cristopher Lencioni update: Bellator vet suffered brain injury, wife asks public for help