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Brandon smacks back at UFC star Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar celebrates after winning his UFC heavyweight title bout in Las Vegas on July 11, 2009.


She may give up several inches and a few pounds to UFC star Brock Lesnar, but the CEO of Brandon's regional health authority is taking on the martial-arts brute and his bruising views on Canadian health-care system.

"I take real exception to being referred to as a third-world country operation," said Carmel Olson, responding Thursday to comments from Mr. Lesnar, the venom-spewing, bone-breaking heavyweight champion of the UFC.

My wife saved me. She got me out of there and drove 100 miles per hour to get me down to Bismarck, N.D. Brock Lesnar

On Wednesday, Mr. Lesnar marked his return to the octagon after a lengthy digestive ailment by slamming the medical treatment he received while visiting Brandon, Man. "It was like a Third World country," he said of Brandon Regional Hospital. "My wife saved me. She got me out of there and drove 100 miles per hour to get me down to Bismarck, N.D."

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He was reportedly visiting Manitoba to hunt with his brother, who lives in the area. But when his painful diverticulitis flared up, he drove three hours to check into Brandon's hospital, a modern facility that serves much of western Manitoba and south-eastern Saskatchewan. But he quickly found that it wasn't up to his standard. "They had some machinery that wasn't working and couldn't do its job," he said. "I needed to have [tests]done, so we went where they could be done."

But Ms. Olson disputes the 6-foot-3 former wrestling star's version of events.

We have state-of-art equipment here. We are hardly a one-horse operation. Carmel Olson, Brandon regional health authority CEO

"The attending physician was very qualified and very respected," she said. "He's been in the business for more than 30 years. And he has the skills to diagnose a condition such as diverticulitis without a CT scan."

She added that the Brandon facility deals with diverticulitis on a regular basis and that Mr. Lesnar was never misdiagnosed.

"We have checked this particular health record and were are quite confident that the correct diagnosis was given and the best course of treatment offered," she said. "We have state-of-art equipment here. We are hardly a one-horse operation."

She was flummoxed as to why the Mr. Lesnar took such exception to Brandon.

"Who knows, maybe he didn't like the bill."

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Towards the end of his press conference, Mr. Lesnar admitted that his comments were partly motivated by the ongoing political debate in the U.S. "The reason I'm saying that is because there's millions of people that don't want health care reform and I'm one of them," he said. "I'm not a believer in socialism and I don't want that going on."

After visiting Bismarck, he was transferred to the famed Mayo Clinic, a facility he said was superior to Brandon's hospital, an assertion that doesn't surprise Ms. Olson.

"I wouldn't be so arrogant as to compare ourselves to the Mayo Clinic, they're the experts," said Ms. Olson. "But I really take exception to someone giving us that kind of media coverage for their own political reasons."

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