WWE Legend Ric Flair: Decades Of Heavy Drinking Left Me Fighting For My Life

By Desiree Bowie 09/22/17

Ric Flair estimates that he drank around 20 drinks a day for years.

Ric Flair
Photo via YouTube

In a recent interview PeopleTV, WWE legend Ric Flair opened up about the years of heavy drinking that nearly took his life. 

On August 11, Flair entered a Georgia hospital after experiencing an upset stomach. As it turns out, the 68-year-old's health was about to take a turn for the worse. Decades of heavy drinking had negatively impacted his body and Flair was officially in the early stages of kidney failure and nearing congestive heart failure. 

"I noticed with his health that the more he drank it seems like he was slowing down," his fiancée Wendy Barlow told PeopleTV. "He would feel a little dizzy at times and he thought he may have vertigo like he had in the past." But it turns out that those symptoms may have been heart problems associated with his drinking. 

Doctors would need to give Flair a pacemaker and partially remove his bowel.

He was then placed in a medically-induced coma. Things were looking so grim that the doctor told his daughter Charlotte to pay her final respects. “My daughter told me that the doctor told her to go see me—that I wasn’t going to make it. I had no idea it was that bad,” Flair says.

Flair admitted that his real introduction into drinking was a social one. He used alcohol as a way to "bond" with his fellow wrestlers in the early '70s. “I never drank when I was working,” he told People. “But as soon as work was over, I went right to the mill.”

The WWE Hall of Famer also appeared on The Dan Le Batard Show where he spoke about about his battle with heavy drinking and where it all began.

“When I started in the business in 1972, we drove 3,000 miles a week, we drank beer on the road…threw cans out the windows and all the stuff, no cops, it was just a way of life,” Flair said. “Then pretty soon, it was drinking a beer, getting to the hotel, drinking liquor.”

Professional wrestling takes a toll on the body, and after duking it out for years in the ring Flair had his share of injuries and pain to deal with. But instead of turning to opioid painkillers, he turned to the bottle. “I’ve never taken a pain pill in my life,” Flair says. “I’d just take a shower, flip my hair back and go to the best bar in town.” 

Flair revealed on Le Batard that he was drinking "between 3,700 and 4,000 calories worth of booze, soda and a splash of cranberry in my body every day, I did like 20 drinks everyday."  

“I’ll never drink again,” Flair says. “I crashed in an airplane and broke my back, I’ve been hit by lightning—but this is totally different. Anything I’ve been through before is nothing like this."

"I didn’t think I was an alcoholic, but obviously I was,” Flair said.

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Desiree Bowie is a writer and movie lover from Los Angeles, California. Follow her on Twitter @dangerbowie