A few days ago we linked to a story from Grantland on legendary wrestler Ric Flair. The story documented Flair’s (real name: Richard Fliehr) many, many, many run-ins with the law over the years. Before author Shane Ryan got into that in earnest, though, he briefly mentioned that Flair has alcoholic cardiomyopathy, a heart condition brought on, as the name suggests, by alcohol abuse. Flair, apparently, took great issue with this. Or as TMZ put it, in a most TMZish way:
Wrestling icon Ric Flair is FURIOUS over an article which claims the Nature Boy is suffering from a serious medical condition caused by years of hardcore boozing … because Ric claims it’s NOT TRUE and now he’s threatening to sue.
We might say to this, “Well, if you’re going to sue over anything in the story, it might as well be for the one tidbit of the nearly-6,000-word piece that doesn’t appear to come directly from court documents. Of course, such suits (were Flair to actually file one, which we doubt happens) are notoriously hard to win. And in what might be a bigger problem for Flair to overcome, apparently he’s previously admitted having alcoholic cardiomyopathy himself. Wrestle Zone quotes from Flair’s autobiography:
“Through my many years of partying, I also developed something called “alcoholic cardiomyopathy,” a weakening of heart muscles. I first detected that there was something wrong when my heart began skipping beats. I went to a cardiologist friend who told me that when your heart pumps, it expands to a rubber band. But mine was doing it too much. Initially, I thought that steroids might be responsible, but the doctor dismissed this theory. My heart was fluttering from thirty-five years of hitting it hard.”
In addition, Wrestle Zone points to this handy link, in which you can actually read the excerpt of Flair’s autobiography where Flair says it himself. Additionally, while ProWrestling.net notes that stopping alcohol consumption entirely may also stop the disease, this is unlikely in Flair’s case, since “it’s no secret that Flair continues to drink” – something Ryan’s piece will make rather clear.
So to us, it appears this entire endeavor is pointless on Flair’s part. Maybe he’s trying to save face, but the alcoholic cardiomyopathy information, in addition to being true by Flair’s own admission, was a small piece of the Ric Flair downward spiral puzzle constructed by Ryan. A Flair rep called Ryan’s allegation (if one could even call it that) “part of the territory when you are not only famous, but a living legend.” Well, for the life of us, we can’t see how threatening a lawsuit like this comes with any territory but thinking you can get away with anything because you’re Ric Flair.