When British MMA fighter Michael Bisping suffered a knockout loss to Vitor Belfort in 2013, it left him with a detached retina which permanently affected his vision. In a recent conversation with Steve-O on the Wild Rides podcast, Bisping reveals that he was actually “clinically blind” for the last couple of fights in his UFC career. However, he never told anyone apart from his wife the truth, as he felt a lot of pressure to keep going.
“It was very stressful,” he says. “The problem was, every fight you have, you do your training camp, you fly to wherever it is… you fly all your team out there, get the flights, hotel, meals, and you’ve got to pay them all for coming. And then you’ve got to see a local doctor the day of the fight. I’m like, shit, this guy might be the guy who pulls you from the fight, the guy who takes a look at your eyes and says fuck this, you’re not fighting.”
While Bisping sidesteps a question of just how much deception he had to engage in while continuing to train and fight, he adds that he is glad he was never prevented from stepping into the octagon, and was able to walk away from UFC on his own terms.
He explains that after leaving MMA, his eye looked like “a mess” and made him incredibly self-conscious at a time when he was starting to break into acting, so he started wearing a specialized lens. But this would drift and require constant correction. “I decided fuck this, I’m going to have a glass eye,” he says.
Bisping was ready to have his eye surgically removed and replaced, when he learned that he could instead go for a less drastic option: a prosthetic lens, which he then takes out to demonstrate to Steve-O exactly how it works.
“They hand-paint it, they match it perfectly, they do a fantastic job,” he says. “It’s the best $3,000 I’ve ever spent in my life.”
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