Gerald G-Man McClellan: His Sister Lisa Speaks On His Condition
By Robert Brizel, Real Combat Media Correspondent
Freeport, IL (February 11, 2013)– In an exclusive interview with Real Combat Media for Illinois, Lisa McClellan, the younger sister of former WBC and WBO World Middleweight champion Gerald ‘ The G-Man’ McClellan, provided a status update of Gerald’s current health situation, and also discussed the Chicago area funeral of boxer Omar Henry.
Gerald McClellan, 45, from Freeport, Illinois, had a professional ring record of 31-3 with 39 knockouts, and is ranked # 27 all-time among the hard hitting punchers by Ring Magazine. He won the World Boxing Council Middleweight title by stopping Julian Jackson in five rounds in May 1993, and defended it three times by first round knockout between August 1993 and May 1994. He was counted out in the tenth round of a February 1995 WBC Super Middleweight title bout against Nigel Benn at New London Arena in London, after getting hit numerous times behind the head without Benn being penalized. Benn later was stopped twice in WBO world title bouts and never fought again, but reappeared at a fundraiser for McClellan.
Real Combat Media: “Given Gerald’s situation, how could you help Omar Henry?”
Lisa McClellan: “What little we have we donated to help pay for Omar’s funeral expenses.”
Real Combat Media: “Omar Henry was buried on February 8, 2013. Due to the illness of your older sister Sandra, you have been under a lot of pressure with Gerald’s care more recently, Lisa.”
Lisa McClellan: “I’ve taken care of Gerald 24 hours a day 7 days a week for the past three months since November 11. I have never been under such stress than I have been in the past 18 years as I am now. My sister Sandra is back again. giving me breaks again, the stress was so bad I may have lost 20 pounds. I just want some peace. Gerald doesn’t want to be left alone. He still is himself. He has the same emotions and reactions as he did before he got hurt. ”
Real Combat Media: “Does Gerald G-man McClellan still work out?”
Lisa McClellan: “We have a treadmill. We work out here. I have bars put up for stretches, do sit ups, we walk to the corner and back. I took him to the gym once in Freeport to be with his son, aspiring boxer Gerald McClellan Jr., who lived with us for three years before he moved to the Kronk Gym in Detroit. Gerald Sr. told Gerald Jr. a lot about how to train, how to jab, how to throw a left hook, how to throw a right hook, just different things. Gerald can have a conversation at home with his friends about boxing as if nothing’s wrong.”
Real Combat Media: “Does Gerald sleep normally at this point?”
Lisa McClellan: “People with head injuries have their sleep patterns thrown off with the change in seasons, which can cause some issues. He’s normally up by 8 A.M. and asleep by 8 P.M.”
Real Combat Media: “What happened to all the people surrounding Gerald when he was the world middleweight champion?”
Lisa McClellan: “All the people that Gerald did for, all the people that Gerald gave to, where are they now?”
Real Combat Media: “Gerald was supposed to have an operation to have his colon removed, but that never happened. Can you update readers on Gerald’s current health situation.”
Lisa McClellan: “The operation to remove Gerald McClellan’s colon was postponed because Gerald’s older sister Sandra McClellan, who is actively involved with Gerald’s care, received a kidney transplant from her daughter. At one point we had both operations scheduled back to back. But we did not go through with Gerald’s surgery. Gerald’s sister Sandra is not yet 100% but is coming along. We had to work something out (with the doctors) so Gerald could be sustained till Sandra got back on her feet. Gerald was put on some medication which has bought him some time (in order to postpone the pending operation to remove Gerald’s colon to a later date) until the surgery can be rescheduled.”
Real Combat Media: “What is Gerald’s current Gerald’s medical evaluation?”
Lisa McClellan: “We were told the colon is part of the nervous system, which is controlled by the brain. It was a trigger. Gerald had a brain injury (sustained in the fight with Nigel Benn). The brain controls the nervous system, which controls the colon. Gerald’s problem originated from that.”
Real Combat Media: “How are you and Gerald surviving emotionally and financially?”
Lisa McClellan: “Gerald receives social security disability, a small WBC pension, and Medicare. I’ve got about $40,000 in medical bills (backed up). Gerald’s colon is not functioning at all. We’re given him meds so his colon can work and he can go to the bathroom. We (eventually) went to the hospital for surgery, and the doctor was concerned about when they put the colostomy bag on it has to be stitched into place. They bring your rectum to the surface of the skin and the bag goes on top of the rectum. The surgeon’s concern in the first two weeks after surgery was if Gerald broke the stitches, the bowel could fall back into the abdomen and it could be life threatening or fatal. We’re two hours from the hospital where the surgery will take place in Madison, Wisconsin. After telling us this news, everybody panicked. The doctor gave us another option, to continue to use the meds Gerald has been using to make him go (to the bathroom).”
Real Combat Media: “Gerald’s current meds may postpone his colon surgery.”
Lisa McClellan: “If the current meds work for Gerald, it may put off the surgery (to remove his colon) for some time. But the doctor said sooner or later the meds won’t work. The meds are not as effective anymore. The doctor called and said there are new meds in the research process. The only thing is these meds are really expensive. The one we use now is new and costs $200 a month, and we started using it Saturday. The last one cost $500 a month and it did not work. The fortunate thing is Gerald has been getting help from the World Boxing Council for his Meds.
Real Combat Media: “Gerald still likes to talk boxing.”
Lisa McClellan: “Gerald very much loves boxing, loves talking about it and his own career. He remembers every single fight he’s had except for the Benn fight. We do talk about it (the Benn fight) and what I’ve told him happened. Gerald had all of his fights on videotape. My father took those. ”
Real Combat Media: “Is it true Gerald’s championship belts were for sale?”
Lisa McCellan: “No it is not. When we were in England for Gerald’s benefit in 2007 with Nigel Benn, somebody offered to buy them and we turned them down.”
Real Combat Media: “Did Gerald and Nigel Benn get along together at the benefit?”
Lisa McClellan: “We met with Nigel earlier that day in a private room before the function. Gerald told Nigel Man, you know you realize you almost took my life. We were used after we got into the ring.’ Gerald was trying to analyze the fight. It brought back a lot of the emotions for Gerald. Up to that point, he wouldn’t acknowledge he was blind or couldn’t see. The first full day we were in England, Gerald said How come I can’t see? He knew we were in England. He knew we were in England and we were going to meet with Nigel. Gerald got very emotional. And it ended with Nigel getting too emotional to finish either. Because of Gerald’s short term memory, Gerald’s hard questions for Nigel kept repeating over and over again, and it brought about some of the same hard emotions for Nigel. It was hard for everyone. Gerald did not to go to the dinner. I went to the dinner for a little while
while Gerald was with friends. Later, Gerald let Nigel and other people visit with him in his room without all the emotions. They took pictures together and laughed.”
Real Combat Media: “Some say no boxers ever visited Gerald G-Man’ McClellan.”
Lisa McClellan: ” Joe Frazier and Evander Holyfield came after early to see Gerald after Gerald’s injury. They attended a fundraiser I had for Gerald. Joe Frazier came to the house. Gerald talked to Joe. Gerald was very excited, and he and Joe talked about serious boxing stuff. Gerald used to talk about Emanuel Steward, who called from time to time, so I did share with him Emanuel Steward passed. Gerald trained with Emmanuel from after his second professional fight in 1988 to 1993. Gerry Cooney came to the second benefit for Gerald we had in Rockfort, Illinois.”
Real Combat Media: “You cannot fly on an airplane with Gerald anymore. Why?”
Lisa McClellan: The last two times were on an airplane, Gerald blacked out twice in midflight from intracranial pressure due to the change in altitude. The fluid in the brain is affected. The last time we got off the plane in Phoenix, Arizona. I had to drive 45 hours back home. We were going to the World Boxing Hall of Fame in California. When we took a train to New York City for the Boxing Writer’s dinner, it took us 21 hours. We had a sleeping car, and it was private and comfortable for the long ride. In Chicago, we could drive over. This coming April, (boxer/trainer) John Scully’s doing a benefit card for Gerald in Connecticut. I’m going to try to bring Gerald for that. Scully’s got some friends who are going to drive us in.”
Real Combat Media: ” Can Gerald see or hear? Can he read Braille?”
Lisa McClellan: “An attempt was made to teach Braille. It didn’t work. If he was just blind without the head injury, it would work. With the head injury, he has no comprehension. Then too, Gerald is so set in his ways he won’t do anything he doesn’t want to do. There’s nothing wrong with his eyes or hearing. Gerald is not blind or deaf, reporters should not be say this. His brain is just not transmitting all of the signals (after the Benn fight). If I’m in the kitchen and he’s in the living room, and I call Gerald in the tone I talk to you now, he comes to me. So he can hear me.”
Real Combat Media: “How is Gerald around his children and his grandchildren?”
Lisa McClellan: “When the grandchildren are here, mine and his, even when his own kids were here when they were younger, he turns into a father like there’s nothing wrong with him.”
Real Combat Media: “But without the children, Gerald still has mood swings.”
Lisa McClellan: “Anybody’s who’s had a head injury has issues. It’s not him, he’s not mad. It goes with the injury.”
Real Combat Media: Does Gerald have a favorite fighter he still talks about?”
Lisa McClellan: “Gerald always asks about Tommy Hearns. Tommy Hearns is his favorite fighter.”
Retired middleweight contender Matt ‘The Beta Bomber’ Farrago is President of Ring 10, a nonprofit charitable organization in New York State which raises money for injured and retired boxers. Reached by telephone, Farrago, who fought between 1983 and 1991 with a pro record of 25-2, explained McClellan’s financial situation.
Matt Farrago: “We give the McClellan family money every month. We opened a food account for Gerald and Lisa in their hometown. They live together, and it covers quite a bit. It makes their life every month easier. Ring 10 does the same for former champion Wilfredo Benitez in Puerto Rico.”
Donations for Gerald McClellan’s ongoing care can be made to Gerald McClellan The Gerald McClellan Trust, 839 Wyandotte, Freeport, Illinois 61032, or online at http://www.geraldmcclellan.com/trust.html/ In addition, donations can be sent to:
Gerald McClellan C/O Ring 10, 30 Bowdon Road, Greenlawn, New York. Matt Farrago noted Ring 10 donations specifically earmarked will go in their entirety to the fighter named, and he is aware of Gerald McClellan’s ongoing medical expenses.
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