Hepatitis C A Growing Concern
The much talked about “documentary” video on YouTube that went viral just before Abdullah the Butcher was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame has brought Hepatitis C to an ugly light in professional wrestling. Devon Nicholson claimed he was on a fast track to New York only to have doctors tell him that he had Hep C and then the WWE told him the deal was off the table. Nicholson claims that the only way he could have contracted the disease, a blood both pathogen, would have been through a series of bloody matches he had with Abdullah.
“Superstar” Billy Graham, who also has Hep C has lashed out against Abdullah, going so far as to ask for his name to be removed from the WWE HOF roster simply due to the fact that Abdullah was never wrestled in a WWWF, WWF, or WWE ring. Graham has had one liver destroyed by heavy steroid use and Hep C and is badly in need of another transplant.
Abdullah has responded to Graham but only about the claims on why he does or does not belong in the WWE HOF, calling Grahams’ claims “sour grapes” and noting that The Butcher “has drawn money all over the world.” Abdullah has never responded to the video nor the claims that he has Hep C.
Bob Orton Jr. has Hep C but was unaware and bled heavily during a match between his son Randy and The Undertaker after the undertaker attacked Bob outside the ring in a Hell in a Cell match. The Undertaker is said to have been furious after learning Orton has Hep C and there was a possibility for contamination.
Now two more top stars have allegedly been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, the former “X-Pac” Sean Waltman and the most surprising, former ROH Heavyweight Champion Desmond Wolfe. Wolfe has been kept off TNA TV since August of last year with an “undisclosed” injury according to early reports. It has seen been learned that Wolfe is alleged to have Hep C and that he will not step into the ring again for TNA but possibly take on another role with the company.
Many people are rallying for state athletic commissions to take a more active role in professional wrestling but the answer does not lie in that direction, especially now that the WWE no longer wants to be known as a wrestling company. Many years ago Vince McMahon changed wrestling to “entertainment” to avoid paying taxes in many states the WWE was marching into that regulated wrestling. Now with the wrestling identity gone from even the name, it would be another way to circumvent any athletic commission involvement.
Possibly the best way, at least for the major companies like the WWE, TNA and ROH with Chikara, Evolve and Dragon Gate closely behind, would be to have the workers provide proof of a recent physical with blood results a prominent feature to be looking for. That is also one thing athletic commissions could do before licensing a person to wrestle, but with so few states actually caring enough to require a license I do not honestly think they would go the extra step of checking medical records.
The promoter is ultimately responsible for the workers who appear on his show, and whether he knowingly or unwittingly uses a wrestler with HIV or Hep C and a fan or another worker contracts it during a show, the liability belongs to the promoter. Many outlaw promoters run without insurance as well as a license and there is an outside chance they could also be held criminally liable along with the wrestler.
There are a lot of people who are saying aloud, just stop bleeding, stop cutting yourself and this will all go away. If it were only that simple to make reality…just go away.