Stuart Scott is an ESPN original and the man GQ Magazine once said put the hip-hop in sportscasting.
When the “Sportscenter” anchor is not at ESPN’s studios, he can be found once or twice a month practicing mixed-martial arts wearing sunglasses, for a very specific reason.
“I’m blind in my left eye,” Scott told ABC News’ Robin Roberts in an interview Tuesday. “Contrary to what people say, it is not a glass eye so I have to protect my eyes at all cost.”
Scott, 48, was first diagnosed with cancer in November of 2007.
“That was just kind of a surprise when the doctor said, ‘We did a biopsy on your appendix and you have cancer,’” Scott recalled. “Like the first thought [was], ‘I’m gonna die.’”
“There’s probably an expletive before the thought, ‘I’m gonna die,’ [but I] can’t say it,” he said. “My second thought was, ‘I’m gonna die and I’m gonna leave my daughters and I can’t do that.”
After two surgeries and six months of chemotherapy, Scott emerged cancer-free. Two years later, however, the cancer returned in the form of three tumors.
“After that time I kind of realized, at least for me, this is likely gonna be something I’m never gonna kick, so now what?,” Scott said.
Scott says he left his prognosis at that – “something I’m never gonna kick” – for a reason.
“I don’t want to know how many years you think I may have left. How many months you think I may have left,” he told Roberts. “I don’t want to know what stage cancer you think I have because what’s that going to do?”
“Let’s say it’s Stage 4,” Scott said. “Well, it’s just gonna make me scared, more scared. I don’t need that.”
In addition to his medical treatments, Scott has taken to fighting his cancer in the gym, training in martial arts at Plus One Defense Systems in West Hartford, Conn.
“It’s for the mind better than any chemo to me. It’s better than any kind of medicine,” Scott said. “It’s my way of trying to kick cancer’s a**.”
Scott conditions himself with intense workout sessions with his trainer, Darin Reisler.
“It feels good to be winded, having trouble breathing, chest hurts…,” Scott told Roberts in the midst of a workout. “I’m alive.”
Scott says he fights against cancer for his two daughters.
“The most important thing I do is I’m a dad,” Scott said.
Scott’s oldest daughter, Taelor, was 12 when he was first diagnosed in 2007 and is now a 19-year-old college freshman. His younger daughter, Sydni, was 8 when Scott was first diagnosed and is now a 14-year-old who loves to sing.
“I want to walk them down the aisle,” he said. “There are a lot of great upstanding reasons why, because I’m their dad. I want to share that moment with them.”
“There are a couple of reasons that are just selfish and competitive, because I don’t want no other dude doing it,” he said. “That’s my job. That’s my role. I want them to call me when they’re 26-years-old and they want a condo that they can’t really afford but I want them to call me and say, ‘Dad can you give me a loan?,’ because I want to say yes.”
“That’s really what I’ve always wanted and needed with them for them is to be a dad for a long time, as long as they need a father,” Scott said.