‘10% of people survive this’ – Wife of hospitalized 28-year-old MMA fighter gives update

MMA fighter Cris Lencioni suffered a cardiac arrest while training early this month, and his wife Marcia gave an update on his condition.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 3 months ago

Earlier this month, MMA fighter Cris Lencioni suffered a cardiac arrest while training for his next Bellator bout. Deemed to be in peak physical condition, the 28-year-old suddenly collapsed during a jiu-jitsu exercise and was immediately rushed to the hospital where he is still recovering. 

Recently, his wife Marca spoke to MMAFighting.com and gave updates on the young fighter’s condition, some of which are promising. 

Bellator MMA’s Cris Lencioni suffered brain damage

Per MMAFighting, MRI scans later revealed that Lencioni suffered brain damage as a result of his cardiac arrest. According to Marca, her husband had been released from ICU on Friday, in a “state of disordered consciousness.” 

However, she also stated that neurologists are likewise having a difficult time to provide definite answers. 

“The neurologists were basically like, ‘We have to wait to see what he can do and what he shows us,’” Marca said. “Because he was so, so healthy when this happened and is young and an athlete, they’re not really sure what’s gonna happen.

“The brain is complex, and because of where he’s at, they don’t know and they can’t say. Even the neurologist, she’s like, ‘I can’t give you a definite answer, because it’s gonna be up to him.’ If anybody can come out of something like this, it’s him. He’s a fighter in all senses – it’s not just in the ring.

“The bottom two chambers [of his heart] weren’t pumping correctly, and his [heart rhythm] was really high,” she said.

Marca says doctors believed the cardiac arrest could’ve been a result of Long QT Syndrome, a signaling disorder that causes chaotic heartbeats, or arrhythmias. Long QT is also deemed to be one of the causes of death of former UFC heavyweight Shane Del Rosario, who died in 2013. 

The MMA vet in Del Rosario, however, was found to have recreational drugs in his system. Marca confirmed that her husband was completely healthy at the time. 

Lencioni showing excellent signs of progress

Here’s the upside to the story. Leoncini has shown considerable signs of progress like being able to try and stand up on his own two feet. Marca says it left everyone baffled, in a good way. 

“Ten percent of people survive this, and the fact that he is moving, and trying to get up and like doing what he’s been doing…he drank water today for the first time. 

April 21, 2023, Honolulu, HI, Hawaii, USA: HONOLULU, HAWAII - APRIL 21: Cris Lencioni and Blake Smith Fight in a featherweight bout during Bellator 294 - Carmouche vs Bennett at Blaisdell Arena on April 21st, 2023 in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States. Honolulu, HI USA - ZUMAp175 20230421_zsa_p175_146 Copyright: xMattxDaviesx
Cris Lencioni vs Blake Smith at Bellator 294 (Imago | ZUMA)

“It’s blowing [the nurses’] minds, and it’s blowing my mind.”

As of this posting, the GoFundMe campaign for the Leoncioni family is at nearly $30,000 out of their $250,000 goal. But Marca is also calling for fan support for the Bellator fighter and is counting on other sources of money. 

“I’m hoping that he’ll be able to get state insurance that will help cover some of the bills here. I’m ready to sell my house if I have to, to get him treatment in another country,” she said. Marca was likewise appreciative of the Bellator brass, whom she deemed as “amazing” and “very supportive.”

Will Cris Lencioni fight again?

Marca is looking at other potential treatment options for her husband, like stem cell therapy in Mexico or Colombia. Doctors have yet to confirm if he could carry on his Bellator and MMA career, but she has reasons to be optimistic. 

“If anybody can come out of something like this, it would be him. So I’m not gonna put limitations on what it is possible for him to do or not to do because he’s been proving the doctors wrong every single day since this has happened.”

Lencioni was originally slated for Bellator 298

Lencioni was supposed to face “The Strabanimal” James Gallagher at Bellator 298. He was subsequently replaced by James Gonzales for the August 11th event in Sioux Falls, Idaho. 

Lencioni last saw action at Bellator 294 in April, where he defeated Blake Smith via second round submission. He is currently on a three-fight win streak with a record of 10-3 in MMA. 

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About the author
Milan Ordoñez
Milan Ordoñez

Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments.

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