Rising UFC star Josiah Harrell was gearing up for his promotional debut at UFC 290 versus Jack Della Maddalena. He was filling in for an injured Sean Brady, but he faced an unexpected problem.
Harrell was diagnosed with Moyamoya, a rare cerebrovascular disease. The diagnosis came just days before his scheduled bout.
Moyamoya is an uncommon cerebrovascular disease that affects the brain’s arteries. It is a progressive and long-lasting ailment. Individuals with this condition have a constriction of the blood arteries, which may ultimately result in blockages and cause aneurysms, seizures, and strokes.
In an effort to finance his upcoming surgery, Harrell initiated a GoFundMe campaign in November. The surgery is scheduled at the Moyamoya Center at Stanford Health Care in California and required an upfront payment of $80,000.
Unfortunately, Harrell faced a setback when he discovered that the UFC’s insurance wouldn’t cover his medical expenses. In an update, he stated: “The UFC insurance cannot cover me… Just got updated today. Got withheld information for about six months. Will update you asap.”
Even though Harrell has not received the amount from the GoFundMe campaign, he will still have surgery in less than a day. The combatant said that his ailment was congenital, which is why the UFC insurance didn’t cover his medical bills.
Harrell gave an explanation of why the promotion was ineffective for him in response to a fan’s remark on an Instagram post. He wrote: “Thank you boss. Last time I heard their insurance denied me since I was born with the disease instead of getting it from a fight. Win some, you lose some, either way I appreciate you.”
Despite the financial challenges and insurance roadblocks, Harrell remains resilient. Set to undergo surgery within 24 hours, he chooses to focus on the positive aspects of his situation.
In an interview, the 25-year-old shared his thoughts on the diagnosis. He said: “A part of me is excited and grateful because if I was living my whole life with limiters and restricted blood flow and only half of my brain, what can I do with my full potential?… So a part of me is ego involved, and a part of me is just grateful that I had the opportunity… I’ve got mixed feelings, long story short.”