ONE Championship veteran AJ “Pyro” Lias Mansor has spoken for the first time about the operation that saved his career – and his life.
Mansor, 43, was diagnosed with a potentially fatal head tumor that required surgery.
The ONE Featherweight Malaysia Tournament Champion knew he had no choice but to go under the knife in a bid to remove the tumor and give himself the best chance of full health again.
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Thanks God. Alhamdulilah I live another day but fight continues. Over five hours surgery to remove the tumor from my head. It's a benign tumor but cancerous type as it in one of my gland. I got diagnosed almost a month ago. I didn't know it was in my head for over two years already. Before surgery I kept myself busy with training, work, travelling to help my fighters won their fights, family time and I even got myself a Pro Wrestling match @mypwrestling last weekend just to get my mind off from it. I'm not type a guy who locks himself the room, crying n blaming why it happens to me. I go out there strong, I don't tell people my pain instead make them happy. Thanks to all prayers doa, good vibes and love that I received from you all. I'll be back stronger #Gratitude #KeepFighting #SmashTumour #SmashCancer #Strong #IllBeBack #Alhamdulilah #Passion #ThankYou #BorneoTribalSquad #MyPW #JesseltonMedicalCentre
“It was a very risky procedure,” he says.
“I’ve had it there for three years, and the doctors told me it could be fatal if I don’t have it removed immediately as it was a cancerous tumor.”
It meant Mansor had to put his mixed martial arts career and his usual unwavering commitment to training on hold for nearly three months to address his urgent health issue.
“I’m stubborn, and I ignored it for way too long, but I decided I must go for it to save my own life,” he admits.
“I spent five nights in the hospital and even then, I started to get restless.”
Feeling at a loose end and frustrated at being stuck in a hospital room, Mansor took it upon himself to get his blood flowing again. He started stretching and practicing the breathing techniques he uses during his martial arts practice.
It was not much, but it was the only connection to his training he could muster in the circumstances.
Such is “Pyro’s” thirst for activity, it took him a matter of days after his tumor had been removed before he was back on the mats in his gym once again.
“As soon as I got discharged, I went to see my family, and next, I was back training. I did light cardio and stretching, and picked it up from there,” he explains.
“After a month, I started training my striking, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and mixed martial arts, and it surprised me that despite my condition, I was still in good shape.
“While at the gym, I kept on looking back – so thankful to be able to continue this journey because I was just fighting for my life.”
Now free of the tumor that threatened to take his life, Mansor feels as if he has a new lease of life, and he will get back into the cage once again.
He texted ONE Championship officials to inform them of his clean bill of health, as well as his desire to get back into action as soon as possible.
“My goal has always been to fight. Martial arts is my life,” he says.
“After I survived the surgery, it gave me extra motivation, allowing me to have this small sense of belief that I can fight next year. I already feel stronger. I told them, ‘I’m ready.’”
The bout represents the first time Mansor has competed in ONE in two years, and he says he is hugely grateful to the organization for granting him the opportunity to embark on a second stint on the big stage.
“Thank you to ONE Championship for giving me this chance,” he says.
“I believe I’m ready, and it’s such an honor to be part of the first show of 2019. I’m really excited… it’s been a tough journey.”