MMA fighter Cris Lencioni suffered brain damage after going into cardiac arrest, wife reveals

MMA fighter Cris Lencioni has been released from an ICU after having a heart attack earlier this month while training for an upcoming Bellator match, his wife revealed recently. She said the rising star suffered brain damage as a result. 

In an interview with MMA Fighting this week, Marca Lencioni spoke of her husband’s lengthy road to recovery after his cardiac arrest June 8 while training in Washington for an August fight that has since been canceled. 

Cris Lencioni fights Blake Smith

Cris Lencioni and Blake Smith fight in a featherweight bout during Bellator 294 April 21, 2023, at Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu. (Matt Davies/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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


She explained that an MRI later revealed Lencioni sustained brain damage as a result, adding that he was in a state of disordered consciousness when he was released from the ICU Friday. 

“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.”

Cris Lencioni smiles

Cris Lencioni makes weight ahead of Bellator 289 Dec. 9, 2022, at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn. (Matt Davies/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In a June 19 post from Marca Lencioni shared to the fighter’s Instagram page, she revealed details of the date her husband went into cardiac arrest. 

“On Thursday 6/8 there was an incident while Cris was training, and he experienced a cardiac arrest. The athletes at the gym were great and immediately called 911 and did their best to address his needs until paramedics arrived.

“He has been under the care of excellent doctors with I and much of his family by his side,” the post continued. “We are all hopeful for the progress we know he will continue to make.” 

Cris Lencioni gets weighed

Cris Lencioni steps on the scales at a ceremonial weigh-in April 21, 2023, at Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu. (Matt Davies/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Videos of Lencioni during his rehab process were posted to his Instagram story Wednesday and show him responding to a kiss on the cheek from his wife with a smile.

Marca Lencioni told MMA Fighting doctors believe the heart attack may have been caused by Long QT syndrome, which was not diagnosed in a 2019 EKG.  

Lencioni, who is from Portland, Oregon, is a rising star in the featherweight division in Bellator. He was on a four-fight winning streak and boasts an 11-3 record.

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