UFC middleweight Alan Belcher will have to put his two fight win streak on hold as he has suffered a detached retina in training. The Mississippi-based fighter revealed to Pure Fight this week that he has a detached retina which has already been operated on once, will likely require more surgeries and could even possibly bring about the end of his MMA career.
“I have a detached retina,” Belcher said via Skype. “It just all happened all of a sudden, I just lost my vision in my right eye. It just happened all of a sudden, man — pretty much overnight. I was in Brazil training and I messed around for a few days there afterwards and I had to come home and have a surgery the day after I came home.”
“The Talent” isn’t exactly sure when he suffered the potentially career-ending eye injury but believes that it likely occurred in training and was possibly exacerbated by the pressure changes on the long plane ride from the US to Brazil.
“I think it happened in training but I don’t really know exactly when,” Belcher said. “It might have been from the pressure of the airplane might have finished it off from that long trip down there, but before that I probably had some tears in my retina and it was just from getting hit in the head probably.”
At this point, the well-rounded middleweight is being forced to play the waiting game; he won’t know where his fight career is headed until he knows for sure how well his eye will heal.
“I just gotta wait,” said Belcher. “It’s gonna take a couple months to heal and be at its peak, so then I’ll know how good my vision comes back.”
Belcher added that his surgeon has informed him that he should not expect his eyesight to return to normal and, at best, it will reach “20/40″ or “20/60.” Worst case, Belcher says, is that the injury will force him to hang up his gloves for good.
“There’s going to be more surgeries probably even at the best case scenario,” he said. “Worst case is, I don’t get any better than this and then I’m only working with one eye. I probably don’t want to risk fighting again with only one eye because if I lose that one I’m going to be blind.”
Belcher was set to face off against talented grappler Demian Maia in the main event of the upcoming September-scheduled UFC Fight Night but was forced to pull out due to the injury. As it is, Belcher says that he is obviously disappointed at having been forced out of a high-profile fight but that his main focus is currently on recovering and salvaging his fighting career.
“I’m not even really thinking about fighting right now,” said “The Talent.” “I’m just going to wait a couple months and see where I’m at. It’s disappointing ’cause I was on a roll and getting really close to a title. I had a fight coming up that I was sure I was gonna win and it was gonna be a really big fight — main event and everything, but there’s nothin’ I can do about it. I’ll just deal with it and I’ll be back in there if my health allows me. [Fighting is] what I love to do and I can’t imagine not being able to do it any more, but I’ll deal with it if it happens.”
Belcher has gone 7-4 in the UFC winning four of his last five. He holds a 16-6 overall professional MMA record and, with a win over Maia, many assumed he would be very close to earning a shot at the UFC Middleweight Championship.