Ric Flair has come up with an explanation for the bizarre turn of events where he threatened to sue Shane Ryan of Grantland.com for his recent article The Wrestler In Real Life over a claim that Flair made in his own autobiography that he is suffering from a heart condition called alcoholic cardiomyopathy. No, he hadn't forgotten what had been written in his own official book. According to Dave Meltzer in this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Flair claims that he was diagnosed with alcoholic cardiomyopathy in 2002 by a "doctor friend", but it wasn't until after the book was published that he went to a cardiologist who told him the original diagnosis was incorrect and he never had the condition.
I think the exact diagnosis is irrelevant, it's clear that Flair had a heart scare in the autumn of 2002 that stopped him from wrestling for several months and that the scare was likely caused by Flair's unhealthy lifestyle (heavy drinking, steroid usage, stress over financial and marital problems, etc). Flair's unhealthy lifestyle has continued, so even though he would be taking medication for any heart problems he may have, one can definitely question whether he should still be wrestling at the age of 62.
Flair made sure to note to Meltzer that he was cleared to wrestle by his doctor in the spring of 2003 and underwent rigorous cardiovascular testing thanks to WWE's Wellness policy between 2006 and 2008, which flagged up no further problems. However, as David Bixenspan has noted, WWE's cardiovascular testing seems far from flawless:
On the other hand, some people have been very skeptical of the program, especially when it comes to heart problems. According to a newspaper interview with his mother in 2007, The Big Show has an enlarged heart. In spite of this, he has been a regular on WWE television for years. Another long-tenured WWE wrestler has also been rumored for years to have told friends that he has an enlarged heart and has never taken time off for those issues.
That's not to mention Umaga having an enlarged heart at the time of his death too. It also should be noted that Flair's current employers TNA don't have a medical testing program in place and it's possible that WWE wouldn't clear him to wrestle today, even though TNA does.
Did Flair ever before withdraw or update the report in his autobiography that he had alcoholic cardiomyopathy? I'm not sure, but I believe the answer is no.
In that case, since Flair has made an issue out of the broadcasting by others of that fact (and perhaps whether he even had the condition in the first place), he should publicly release the reports of his cardiovascular tests as part of the WWE wellness policy.