(Video courtesy PureFight)
When it was announced that Alan Belcher was forced to pull out of his headlining September 15 UFC Fight Night bout with Demian Maia due to a detached retina he suffered in training, the news was met with a collective, "That sucks. Hopefully when he heals up, the UFC will match them up again."
According to Belcher, he may never get the opportunity to fight Maia again, or anyone else for that matter.
In an interview he did with PureFight this week, the 26-year-old Biloxi, Mississippi fighter who revealed that he suffered irreparable vision loss as a result of the freak injury said that there is a chance he may never fight again.
Belcher says that he won’t know the extent of the injury or the success of the surgery for at least a couple of months and only then will he be able to assess whether or not continuing to fight will be an option for him or if he will have to walk away from the sport he loves.
Check out the close-up of Alan’s eye, post-surgery number one:
Here is the transcription of the pertinent parts of the interview:
"I have a detached retina. 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."
"I think it happened in training but I don’t really know exactly when. 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."
"A few weeks before I noticed like some flashing, kind of seeing stars when I closed my eyes and I didn’t really know what that was, so I should have got it checked out then but I didn’t really think about it until I stated losing my vision, thinking maybe that’s what it was. So I looked up some of the symptoms and things like that. Oh well, you know. I might could have done something about it, but I didn’t know."
"I just gotta wait. 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. I lost a lot of my peripheral vision and I got that back right away after the surgery. I got peripheral, but everything’s blurry and distorted pretty much exactly the same as it was before the surgery, but the only thing I got my peripheral vision back and I guess my sight should be getting better. [The surgeon] says definitely [my vision's] not going to get back to the same, but at best it’s going to be something like 20/40… 20/60 vision. We could maybe do some more surgeries — laser on the retina to kinda flatten it out and get rid of the distortedness, maybe some on my lens to kinda do Lasik’s to…’cos I’m going to be really near-sighted. I can’t see anything far away and when it gets close I can almost see it."
"There’s going to be more surgeries probably even at the best case scenario. 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."
"I’m not even really thinking about fighting right now. I’m just going to wait a couple months and see where I’m at. It’s disappointing ‘cos 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's] 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."