Michael "The Count" Bisping appeared on Monday's episode of The MMA Hour, and detailed the eye injury that derailed his Manchester homecoming that was four years in the waiting.
"They said, ‘Yep, your retina is re-detached," said The Count. "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.'"
Finally, at Bisping's insistence, doctors elected to take an alternative route.
Doctors surmised that they would be able to temporarily repair Bisping's eye by re-performing the surgery to attach the retina, then re-injecting the gel they had, in hindsight, taken out too soon. If successful, Bisping would regain portions of his vision and be free to fight in Manchester, albeit far from 100-percent.
However, during the second surgery, surgeons discovered an influx of scar tissue that had developed around the damaged retina. As a result, they were not only forced to cut away the scar tissue, but also remove a piece of Bisping's retina as well.
When Bisping awoke from under the knife, he learned the situation was far more dire than first expected. Best case scenario, it'd be at least three months before Bisping could even begin to think about exercising. Worse case, his career might be over.
"I was devastated... I was just completely in shock. This is who I am. This is what I do. It defines who I am as a person."
Luckily, doctors have since been encouraged by what they've seen from Bisping's recovery.
Now, under an exercise embargo for the foreseeable future, Bisping is confined to slow mountain hikes intertwined between frustrating days of inactivity. Nonetheless, the 34-year-old vows to clear this hurdle and come back stronger in 2014.
"To everyone involved in the fight, I whole heartedly apologize."
"As long as [my eye] heals well and I don't develop more scar tissue, it should be fine. I should be able to fight, but I've just got to take it easy. In hindsight, I was guilty of pushing it too far, too much too soon."