'Devastated' Michael Bisping on blinding eye injury that nearly ended MMA career

Mark Kolbe

UFC Middleweight contender Michael Bisping talks about the eye injury that forced him out of his main event fight against Mark Munoz at UFC Fight Night 30 later this month, which he initially feared could have been a mixed martial arts (MMA) career-ender.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight contender Michael Bisping has seen better days outside the Octagon.

"The Count" was recently forced to withdraw from his headlining duties against Mark Munoz, which were set to go down at UFC Fight Night 30 on Oct. 26, 2013 In Manchester, England, because of a detached retina in his right eye.

It was a serious injury, one that he actually competed with in bouts against Alan Belcher and Vitor Belfort.

In hindsight, the brash Brit now realizes that wasn't the smartest move, revealing on "The MMA Hour" that he initially thought his mixed martial arts (MMA) career might be over after failing to tend to the condition sooner rather than later.

His words:

"I was fearing the worst. I was fearing that they would say a detached retina, and possibly a career ending injury. So the stubborn old fool inside of me said, ‘I'll do it later, I'll do it later.' When the injury regressed to where I literally couldn't see my hand in front of my face, that's when I thought, okay, that is enough."

Bisping recalls when he knew it was time to take action:

"It was last Tuesday. Everything was fine, and then I walked into the cage to do some wrestling drills. When I walked in, the light kind of went a little strange. That's when I first noticed something. After that, I had to go to L.A. to do some work with Jon Anik and Mark Munoz on Inside the Octagon. We were filming a thing obviously to promote the fight. So I drove out there, and progressively throughout the day the eye was getting worse and worse. I remember I did the interview with Jon Anik and Mark Munoz, and I could hardly see anything."

Thanks to the observations of doctors at the Retina Institute of California, Bisping discovered the retina eye was indeed detached and would require surgery:

"They said, ‘Yep, your retina is re-detached. Obviously, I couldn't believe it. They said we need to operate ASAP. And I said, ‘Well I'm still fighting in four weeks, so you can't operate. Simple as that.' They said, 'You can't do that. You'll go blind.' I said, ‘I've got to fight in four weeks. Thousands of people have bought tickets, they're expecting me there.'"

Following the surgery, Bisping revealed he went through a rather scary experience in which he completely lost the vision in his repaired eye:

"I was having a good time, and then all of a sudden, my vision just completely went in my right eye. It's very blurry, but this time it completely went. I kind of got concerned. I called it a night and drove home, and as I drove home it just got worse and worse. When I got home, I was pretty much blind in my right eye. My girlfriend, when she looked at me, she almost started crying, she said, because my eye had filled up with blood. The iris, the colored part, was no longer blue. It was all red. I thought, that's it. Fight career over. This and that, I'm blind in my eye."

Thankfully, his eye healed up and his vision returned the next day after following doctor's orders to sleep face down. Nevertheless, "The Count" apologizes to all of the fans who already spent their money to see him fight live.

"I'm devastated. I trained so hard for this fight. And not only that, it's hard for the people of Manchester and the people of the U.K. to part ways with their hard-earned money to buy a ticket, so I apologize to all the fans and everybody who bought a ticket."

Former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida will now take on Filipino Wrecking Machine," while Bisping focuses on full recovery, which will likely keep him out until the first quarter of 2014.

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