Robertson overcomes heart issue to step back in the cage
MMA: When Travis Robertson steps into the cage at Eternal 33 it will mark the end of arguably his lowest 18 months.
A man addicted to training, the Hervey Bay grappler had just won Lockdown Queensland's Athlete of the Year award in three weight divisions, and was transitioning to full-blown mixed martial arts contests under the watchful eye of former Australian Lightweight champion Greg Atzori.
But something inside Robertson just was not right.
"I never knew it happened. I was having bad heart palpitations and one day I said something's not right," he said.
It took three doctors - including one who suggested it was anxiety - to send the father of two for scans.
"Sure enough, I had fluid around the heart in the pericardium sac," he said.
"I get a few attacks every now and again but it's nothing like it used to be. I had pericarditis, fluid around the heart.
"I just had a year off - I couldn't train. I got a little depressed from it but we came back and we fight another day.
"I couldn't train as I couldn't use my heart as much. I got a bit depressed from that. This is my addiction and I love the people I train with.
"I gassed out about that first session as the fitness goes down a bit but I seemed to come back pretty quick."
Robertson will step into the cage with jiu-jitsu blue belt Tyrrell Woollcott next week, but the Samarai Dr MMA grappler doesn't know much else about his opponent.
"It is a good thing because you're not dwelling on what's going to happen so you're just playing your game," Robertson said.
"You figure out your strategy and go from there."
Atzori said Robertson's experience at Lockdown events would help, but it was his dedication to training the Tarantula thought would give Robertson the advantage.
"He's like me, he pushes the pace, comes forward, wrestles hard, he doesn't stop and his cardio is through the roof," Atzori said.
"It really takes the energy out of people, it takes the confidence out, and we're hoping that drive and pace will break this guy and he'll finish with ground and pound or a submission."