The Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt says he compartmentalized his situation to focus on the needs and well-being of his pregnant wife. While he kept things calm with her, internally, Credeur was freaked out and started looking for other options.
Thoughts of quitting the sport and finding “a real job” repeatedly crossed his mind.
Instead, he poured himself into building Gladiators Academy, his Lafeyette, Louisiana school where he spent countless hours teaching kids and training fighters, including UFC featherweight contender Dustin Poirier.
Months passed and he underwent multiple test and numerous scans, each costing roughly $2500; “devastating” was the word Credeur used to describe the mounting financial burden.
“Not a lot of people are giving insurance to cage fighters. I have insurance, but it doesn’t cover what I do in my sport. Going in and getting a brain scan isn’t covered, plus I’m out of work; it’s very difficult.”
Two weeks before his wife was set to give birth, Credeur once again returned to the doctors.
“We found out that the mass, the anomaly in my brain was just a birthmark; sort of like a freckle, and definitely not anything to really worry myself about. We talked to many different doctors and they all had the same conclusion: you don’t have anything to really worry about.”
The news was a tremendous relief, and the numerous apologies from the doctors a true comfort. Two weeks later, Audrey Jean entered the world, changing Credeur’s perspective on the world all over again.
Some in this situation would be filled with anger and frustration; the need for answers after months of uncertainty and being forced to confront their own mortality too difficult and painful to accept “it’s not really anything to worry about” as the final answer.
The proud new father looks at his ordeal as a blessing.
“I thank God that my students, my love for jiu jitsu carried us; it still is today and it will always be what supports our family. I have a new passion for teaching now, for contributing to the lives of others.
“God gives us what we can handle. I’m a Christian and I believe God gives us tests in our lives and we have to find a way to be the person the situation needs us to be [in order] to navigate that situation successfully.
“Looking back, I’m happy it happened, and I’m happy that I have what I have now, and that I went through what I went through. It makes the future that much brighter.”
Part of that bright future is his gym.
The numerous hours Credeur spent working at his school is currently paying dividends. Not only has the UFC middleweight discovered a passion for teaching, but Gladiators Academy has become successful, allowing Credeur to hire more instructors and once again focus on his career inside the Octagon.
“I spent the last two years developing into a new fighter. I’m very excited to be a part of the UFC again, and thankful to the UFC for holding my place. They didn’t have to hold my place for anything; I’m not a world-beater. I’m not Anderson Silva. I’m not any of these stars, and the UFC was gracious enough to hold my place [this whole time.]
“I’m so excited to be able to do what I love, to be able to compete again, able to show people never give up; only the strong survive. Not only the talented, not only the athletic – anybody can be strong; strong of spirit, strong of mind, strong of body, anybody can be strong, and if you stick in there, you will survive, and you will one day be able to live your dreams.”
Credeur should know: he survived a nightmare to now be living his dreams every day.