A move to eliminate wrestling from the Olympics has given Ottawa wrestler Devon Nicholson a new goal — in addition to curing himself of Hepatitis C and ensuring a documentary about his life has a happy ending, he wants to get to Brazil in 2016.
“If I’m cured, I will give Greco Roman wrestling a shot in the next Olympics. It could be the last one that they have wrestling in,” said Nicholson, ahead of screening Mar. 3 of a new version of This is Hannibal – a story about his rise and fall in the world of WWE professional wrestling after allegedly contracting Hepatitis C during a match.
“I didn’t like the original ending. It made it seem like my life was completely ruined,” said Nicholson, who won silver at the 2012 Canadian Greco Roman Wrestling Olympic trials. “I’ve done a lot of great things since the completion of that version. I’m working very hard right now to get cured.”
Nicholson contracted the liver attacking Hepatitis C virus in 2010. He alleges it was passed to him by another wrestler during an Alberta match that involved the practice of bleeding, which the WWE banned in 2008. “He was supposed to cut himself to produce blood,” Nicholson said. “In wrestling the time honored way of doing it is to keep a piece of razor blade in your tape and make a cut on your head.”
What he alleges happened next was that the other wrestler cut Nicholson after cutting himself. “He denies cutting me despite the clear footage that he did,” said Nicholson noting that the incident was caught on tape that he intends to use in a pending court case. “Once I saw that tape I was in shock. Sharing razor blades is one of the main ways of passing Hep C, which kills more people than AIDS now. What I’ve been trying to do is spread awareness of it.”
Before he gets to the Olympics, Nicholson, 30, must get through the experimental Incivek Triple Therapy for the disease, which he says is a battle in itself since he has already lost 30 pounds. “There’s been documented cases of murder and suicides on this drug,” he said. “It’s just one of the chemical affects.”
With the newly cut ending, he hopes viewers will take away a positive feeling from the film. “Part of this is the comeback,” he said. “I want to show people that you can be down, but you’re never out.”
This is Hannibal: The Devon Nicholson Story screens March 3 at the Mayfair Theatre at 1074 Bank St. Tickets are $12.