A detached retina may force the former Bellator featherweight champion to retire.
According to mmajunkie.com, Soto underwent surgery yesterday for a severely detached retina which leaves his future in doubt. He was experiencing trouble with his vision after his recent bout with Joe Warren at Bellator 27. Soto's manager Tom Call says that he may require a second surgery a year from now.
"The kind of surgery he's having could cause some other problems like cataracts and things of that nature that have to be corrected," he said. "They can't all be done at the same time.
"There's a good possibility that this is career impacting."
"The Hammer" had a perfect record of 9-0 and held Bellator gold before suffering his first defeat at the hands of Warren, relinquishing his title.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney is saddened by the situation.
"On a human level, it's heartbreaking," Rebney said. "Joe Soto is a really good guy, and he lost his mom less than a year ago, who he had a very, very strong bond with. He lost his title in shocking upset fashion. Now he's got a seriously torn retina, which could conceivably interfere with his fight career, which is a central focus of his life. It's very sad. He's a good kid and he deserves better.
Soto faces the same hardships that UFC middleweight Alan Belcher faces. Belcher was preparing for a bout with Demian Maia when he experienced sudden vision problems. It was then discovered that Belcher suffered a detached retina. "The Talent" says he hopes to be back in the octagon in 2011.