Imagine for a second what it would be like to lose your vision, even in just one eye.
Such a thing would devastate any normal human being but it most likely wouldn't affect the lay person's livelihood. In the case of Alan Belcher, a detached retina nearly took both.
In Aug. 2010, the Jonesboro, Arkansas native underwent emergency eye surgery after he started to lose his vision in Brazil. His fighting career obviously took a backseat to such a pressing issue but it was a damn shame that it happened when it did.
"The Talent" had four of his past five fights and his lone defeat was a controversial split decision loss to Yoshihiro Akiyama, one many felt he was the true victor of. In fact, Belcher had reached the point in his middleweight career that he began calling out pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva and it didn't sound like complete hogwash.
That was all left in the dust while he tended to his injuries and took the necessary time to ensure that if he did resume a career inside the cage, he could do so with as many assurances as possible.
Now, finally, after more than 16 months off, Belcher will return to the Octagon tonight (Sept. 17, 2011) in New Orleans, Louisiana, to go head on against veteran 185-pound scrapper Jason MacDonald.
Not only will Belcher make his long awaited return to action, he'll do so in front of a partisan crowd thanks to his roots in the area. His story of redemption and the will to overcome is an easy sell and will be eaten up by the media and fans.
Interestingly enough, the very same story can be told of his opponent, Jason MacDonald.
After suffering a horrific leg break during a bout against John Salter in May 2010, "The Athlete" went through a long, grueling rehabilitation. At 35-years-old and 38 fights into a fairly average career, MacDonald could have easily called it quits and rode off into the sunset.
Instead he battled his way back for one more fight inside the Octagon. He was given the opportunity to shine on the undercard portion of the "St. Pierre vs. Shields" event back in April, which just so happened to be the biggest event in the history of the UFC.
And it was in his own backyard.
He made the most of it by submitting his opponent, Ryan Jensen, in just over one minute and a half, much to the delight of the home crowd and suckers for heartwarming tales everywhere.
The luster of his triumphant return may have lost most of its magic but the story of these two warriors battling through such devastating injuries to meet inside the cage for a good old fashioned tussle is more than enough to provide fight fans with plenty of smiles to go along with their thrills.