I’m going to admit right off the bat: I know less than nothing about mixed martial arts in general and the UFC in particular. I wouldn’t know what jiu-jitsu looked like if it came up and kicked me in the face.
What I do know is: I can’t do it, and I have mad respect for (or at least trembling fear of) anyone who can do it.
But when that someone is doing MMA WHILE living with a bleeding disorder?!
Look, you and I can argue about the wisdom of getting regularly beaten and kicked in the ring (or, alternately, delivering beatdowns and kicks to others) when you have Factor XIII deficiency.
You and I can argue that, but we probably shouldn’t argue it with Patrick “Paddy” Holohan, a former UFC fighter from Ireland.
Paddy was diagnosed with the ultra-rare bleeding disorder at age 8. After his diagnosis he started treatment and got on with his life, neither hiding his condition nor shouting about it from the rooftops. And when he walked into a gym at age 19 and discovered the joys of jiu-jitsu, he clearly never let it stop him from competing.
But should Factor XIII have stopped him? The UFC clearly thinks so.
After a back injury led to him seeking treated in a Dublin hospital, his Factor XIII deficiency turned up in his blood work; when news got back to the UFC, they told Paddy that the increased chances of a cranial bleed meant he wouldn’t be allowed to compete anymore.
Forced into a sudden retirement from the sport, Paddy does wonder if he should have disclosed his condition earlier and seems to hold no ill will towards the UFC.
But from his perspective, he never brought it up because he never gave it much thought—in part because he didn’t realize the serious risk of cranial bleeds, but also because he never saw it having an impact on him or preventing him from competing over the years.
While it’s hard to argue with the logic of the UFC letting Paddy go, it’s also easy to admire his approach to life.
Paddy did what he wanted to do and didn’t let Factor XIII deficiency stand in his way. And while we wouldn’t encourage kids with a bleeding disorder to go out and start practicing their spin kicks, they could take a lesson in how to tap into their inner warrior to fight back against Factor XIII deficiency!