Former UFC Fighter Brendan Schaub's Baby Girl Is Battling a Life-Threatening Illness

Jamie Lerner - Author

Jan. 26 2024, Published 9:51 a.m. ET

Comedian Brendan Schaub visits SiriusXM Studios on May 16, 2019
Source: Getty Images

The threat of losing a child can be devastating, especially when the parents just brought their child into the world. On Jan. 24, 2024, comedian, podcaster, and former UFC fighter Brendan Schaub revealed that his infant daughter has been facing a life-threatening illness. It got so severe that she needed emergency surgery, so Brendan had to take some time off work.

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Brendan first gained notoriety as a UFC fighter after training in MMA and jiu-jitsu. He won bouts against several champions starting in 2009 but announced his retirement in 2015. By that time, his podcasting and standup comedy career had picked up with his show, The Fighter and the Kid. Now, he oversees the Thicc Boy Podcast Network, so taking time off work is a big deal.

Comedian Brendan Schaub performs during his appearance at The Ice House Comedy Club on Dec. 31, 2019
Source: Getty Images
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Brendan Schaub took time off work to focus on his daughter’s illness.

On Nov. 22, 2023, Brendan and his wife, Joanna Schaub (née Zanella), welcomed their baby girl Billie Isabel Schaub into the world. Billie is their third child, so by now, they have plenty of experience with infants. However, every child is different, and Billie proves that to be true. Since her birth, Brendan and Joanna have been in and out of the hospital dealing with multiple complications.

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On Jan. 24, Brendan announced to his fans in an emotional video that Billie needed emergency surgery. “Most of my family and close friends know my baby girl has been in and out of the hospital since the day she was born. She needs to have emergency surgery on Thursday,” he added through tears, “so I have to cancel my tour dates in Nashville and Austin … I won’t be on the podcast. I haven’t missed a week of podcasting in 12 years, so it’s pretty serious … Hopefully this all goes well, and it’s just a phase. Love you guys.”

Of course, there were no hard feelings among his fans who were expecting to see his standup shows. They’re getting refunds and Brendan is clearly going through something very serious with his family. Fans, friends, and even former UFC enemies wished him and his family good luck through this trying time.

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Brendan shared a photo of Billie right after the surgery. She's sleeping peacefully and he included the caption, “Surgery was a success. I can’t express how much love and support my family felt from everyone. The internet from my experience is a dark awful place. My views have changed recently. The amount of prayers and positive thoughts sent didn’t go unnoticed. Can’t thank everyone individually but trust me I see it. Life is scary for a parent. Forever grateful for the team [at Children’s Hospital L.A.].”

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It’s unclear what Billie’s illness is, but any sort of respiratory, heart, digestion, or brain problem can be incredibly severe in infants and much harder to manage. Just think about playing Operation on an even smaller scale and with a real person — it’s terrifying, so we’re glad that Billie came out of the surgery successfully.

Brendan Schaub’s wife and kids have all come together during this difficult moment.

Brendan started dating Joanna years ago, long before they had their first son in 2016. Joanna’s Instagram bio says that she’s a “Boy Mom,” since before Billie, she was the mom of two boys. It’s unclear when exactly Brendan and Joanna got married, but they were engaged for quite a while before tying the knot. Like Brendan, Joanna is in the public eye as an influencer.

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Their first son, Tiger, was born in 2016. He plays baseball and even has his own Instagram account (managed by Brendan and Joanna). Their second son, Boston Schaub, was born in December 2019. As Joanna and Brendan share pictures of their beautiful family, we wish them the best with Billie as she gets through her illness.

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