27-year-old BJJ superstar Gordon Ryan reveals surgery and various health issues, out indefinitely

Gordon Ryan revealed recent bouts of infection and his uncertain competitive return.

By: Kevin Bradley | 2 weeks ago
27-year-old BJJ superstar Gordon Ryan reveals surgery and various health issues, out indefinitely
IMAGO / Zuma wire / Louis Grasse

One of the most popular BJJ players on earth is out of competition indefinitely. New Wave BJJ’s Gordon Ryan took to Instagram this past Monday to update fans on his ongoing health crisis, citing a litany of issues following a February trip abroad. These compounding infections lead to a relapse of his stomach ulcers, putting his competitive future into question. Ryan would go into surgery that same day of posting for a tonsillectomy and to repair his deviated septum.

Ryan has been absent from the mats since March of 2022, last taking home a win against Daisy Fresh star Jacob “The Hillbilly Hammer” Couch at Who’s Number One.

Gordon Ryan reveals surgery, various health issues

According to Ryan, his troubles began with a strep infection after returning home from Dubai. Strep throat lead to a hospital stay, followed by more infections and failed antibiotics. “So all in I was on over 40 days of antibiotics straight plus a shot of penicillin,” Ryan wrote. During this time he’d been unable to train, or interact with teammates due to being contagious.

Ryan’s infamous stomach ulcers returned with the infections, leading to more pain and the longest period of inactivity in his pro career. Detailing his health status on an episode of the Joe Rohan Experience last September, Ryan’s original ulcers emerged following a staph infection and complications from antibiotics.

“…It ended up being a massive fungal growth in my small intestine, a huge bacterial imbalance in my stomach,” Ryan claimed.

Pros React

A polarizing figure in the best of times, Ryan’s troubles have made him a gleeful target for many athletes on social media. Former teammate Nick Rodriguez wasted no time calling Ryan soft, likely still incensed from the cheating allegations leveled by Ryan from their last match debate months prior.

Though to contrast, several public figures such as Georges St. Pierre and Aquaman star Jason Momoa offered well-wishes to the ailing athlete.

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“Rest and comeback strong brother,” St-Pierre wrote.

“Feel better soon brotha!” former UFC champ Chris Weidman commented.

Hopeful return

A multi-time ADCC and IBJJF no gi champion, Ryan has elevated jiu-jitsu’s profile with his run defeating legends like Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida and Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu. But in his absence, numerous other stars such as Mikey Musumeci, the Ruotolo brothers and recent WNO standout Nicholas Meregali have filled the void with top-shelf jiu-jitsu and comparable flair.

Ryan ended the post on an optimistic note, hoping to return to competition soon. “‘I’m hoping to be back in the next few months,” he specified. His last update came late yesterday, posting pictures of himself post-surgery.

Does Gordon compete again? And if so, what’s the fight to make?

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About the author
Kevin Bradley
Kevin Bradley

Kevin Bradley is a writer covering Bloody Elbow’s grappling beat. A longtime BJJ hobbyist, he began covering combat sports in 2018 for the Jiu-Jitsu Times with athlete interviews and fight breakdowns. He branched into audio the following year, producing and co-hosting the JJT Podcast for its 100 episode run. After a writing hiatus, occasionally contributing to various sites in the interim, he joined BE in late 2022.

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