“The Roast of Ric Flair” will not be taking place this Friday at Starrcast, Sports Illustrated has learned.
Starrcast founder and creator Conrad Thompson confirmed that the 70-year-old Flair will not be traveling to the event due to his health.
“Regrettably, we need to postpone ‘The Roast of Ric Flair,’” said Thompson, who is also Flair’s son-in-law. “He’s been told by his doctor not to fly this weekend.”
Flair spoke last week with Sports Illustrated, expressing excitement for the upcoming event at Starrcast.
“I’m going to unload on anyone who ever screwed me,” Flair said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, I can’t wait.”
At least for now, those aforementioned parties can rest easy.
“It’s not canceled, but it is postponed,” said Thompson. “This is not the last you’ve heard of ‘The Roast of Ric Flair.’ We’ve invested too much time, effort, and energy to ever cancel, but unfortunately it will not be happening this weekend in Las Vegas.”
The situation is more complex than originally expected for two reasons. First, Flair continually states that his health is fine, even if it is not. Secondly, Flair’s family confirmed that the procedure he hoped to have performed last week was delayed until this week due to unforeseen complications. He underwent successful surgery on Monday, his wife, Wendy Barlow, told TMZ.
“Ric told me last week he needed to have a procedure, but he wasn’t worried about it,” said Thompson. “Ric has downplayed all of his health challenges to the family as ‘routine’ or ‘no big deal.’ He categorized it to be, ‘in and out.’ He was doing interviews promoting the roast just the day before he went to the hospital. He didn’t want anyone to worry so he continued to assure everyone that he was fine.”
The severity of the issue changed once complications related to Flair’s heart were discovered.
“Everything changed when he went to the hospital last week, ahead of the appointment,” said Thompson. “That’s when the doctors discovered a complication, delaying surgery from last week to this week. That complication is preventing air travel.
“So, the bad news is the roast is postponed to a date yet to be determined. The good news is that his surgery was successful and he will be back to his regular routine again very soon.”
The timing has placed Thompson in an unenviable position, as he does not want to betray anyone’s trust in the family nor mislead anyone supporting Starrcast.
“In regards to the timing of the announcement, it’s a bit ‘Damned if you do, damned if you don’t,’” said Thompson. “My first concern is for his health and supporting my wife. I’m not just the promoter in this instance.
“When Ric and I spoke last week, he assumed his procedure would be a one-day surgery. When the complications became apparent, my first thought was for my family, not a convention. At the same time, it felt premature and poor taste to make an announcement about the event before we knew the extent of his health situation.”
Ultimately, the decision was made to postpone the roast, but Thompson was quick to note it is not canceled.
“We exhausted all options and mutually decided that it would be best to postpone ‘The Roast of Ric Flair’ for a later date yet to be determined,” said Thompson. “Everyone who purchased a meet-and-greet with Ric will be refunded via EventBrite. We will work to make sure those are completed by the end of the week. The rest of the Horsemen and Ricky Steamboat, who had meet-and-greets with Ric, are still scheduled to appear. We will allow fans the chance to have their photo made against what looks like old TBS backdrop wearing an authentic Ric Flair robe, holding the original Big Gold Belt, and posing with the Horsemen.
“Fans are still going to have a great time. From stand-up comedy from Ron Funches to Cody and the Bucks discussing AEW, to Arn to Sting to Taz to Kobashi to Tom Magee, Starrcast is the place to be this weekend. And you haven’t heard the last of the ‘Roast of Ric Flair.’”
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.