The last couple of weeks have been harder on Michael Bisping
than any fight he’s experienced inside the Octagon.
With the days counting down until his scheduled fight against
Mark Munoz in his home country in England, Bisping started to
experience trouble with his eyesight, which was troubling after he
had surgery earlier this year for a detached retina following his
bout against Alan Belcher at UFC 159.
The final diagnosis was the news Bisping didn’t want to hear
— his retina had detached again and he was forced to pull out
of his fight against Munoz. In addition to that bad news, Bisping
was also hit with the information that depending on how his eye
heals, he could potentially lose his sight and his fight career
could be over.
“Obviously I had a detached retina, that was all healing nicely
and then through the training camp the retina re-detached as we all
know. It was just one of those things. It wasn’t down to anything,
just some scar tissue developed around the retina and caused it to
re-detach. It wasn’t the training, it wasn’t the sparring or
anything like that. It was just bad luck,” Bisping explained when
speaking to FOX Sports on Wednesday.
“I had another surgery to reattach the retina again and then
last week I had further complications, there’s a drain in your eye
where fluid drains out and that got blocked up and the fluid in my
eye got really, really high, caused me a lot of pain. I had to go
to the doctors to have that taken care of. Since then, I’ve not
been able to do anything really. The doctors have said I can’t
train, I can’t run, I can’t exercise or anything in any way
whatsoever. I’ve been blind in my eye ever since then. The whole
whether or not I’m fighting again was up in the air.”
Bisping’s life for the past decade has revolved around getting
up pretty much every day and heading to the gym, preparing for his
next fight and continuing his climb up the ranks towards an
eventual title shot. Potentially having all of that taken away in a
literal blink of an eye, Bisping admittedly sunk into a deep
depression unable to think about a reality where fighting wasn’t
his job any longer.
Luckily, Bisping received some much needed good news on
Wednesday when he visited his doctors to find out the current
progress on his eye. While it will still be months before he can
return to full training there is no doubt any longer —
Bisping will return to the Octagon.
“I’ve just been in the doctors now and they said to me
everything’s looking fantastic. They’ve cleared me to exercise
again, which is great because I was going out of my mind. They said
100-percent I will definitely fight again, and I should start to
see some very, very rapid improvement in my vision pretty soon,”
Bisping said. “I’ve been cleared to fight and I’ve been cleared to
exercise again. So today is a good day. I’m a happy man.”
Now Bisping’s return to action will be a marathon and not a
sprint, so the approach to his recovery is slow and easy without
pushing beyond his limits. It’s been a wave of emotion for the
former Ultimate Fighter winner going from the highs of fight
preparation to the lows of actually believing his career may be
over all the way back to the fantastic news he received from his
doctors on Wednesday.
Hearing the official word that he will return to the UFC in 2014
was like lifting a weight off his chest, and now he can get his
mental acuity aimed at a return to action when his eye heals to
Todays a good day. Doctor says I will 100% fight again , soon
ish. Cleared me for light exercise and its not boiling hot for once
“To be honest I don’t want to rush it because I don’t want to be
in this position again,” Bisping said. “Probably several months
before I can do anything like that. I think I should be able to
fight again in six months. Maybe late February or March, you should
be in the Octagon again.
“I’ve been pretty down in the dumps, pretty depressed. I was
looking forward to this fight, I love competing. I love being a
professional fighter and fighting in the UFC. It’s one thing to
pull out of the fight, but then to learn that I might never fight
again. It’s certainly been a depressing couple of weeks.
Fortunately now things are looking really good. The doctors are
happy and they’re keeping a close eye on me. I’m elated, I’m really
happy, I’m in high spirits right now.”
As for his plans today, Bisping only has one thing on his mind.
After spending weeks buried on his couch at home with a patch
covering his damaged eye catching up on hours of television,
nothing will feel sweeter than driving his car to the gym and just
being able to work out again. He’s still not ready to punch anyone
in the face just yet, but his first baby step towards recovery is a
“I’ve been doing some hardcore Sopranos watching, Homeland, I’ve
been catching up on some good shows, but I certainly miss going to
the gym,” Bisping said with a laugh. “Right now, as soon as I get
home I’m putting some stuff on and heading down to 24-Hour Fitness
and just moving around. That’s really good.”
Bisping will only be able to do conditioning workouts as well as
lifting weights for the next few months before his doctors give him
clearance to actually begin fight training again. Once he receives
the go ahead, most likely towards the tail end of 2013, Bisping can
begin stomping a path back to the Octagon sending warning shots
towards the entire middleweight division that he’s back.