Eye injuries can be major game-changers for professional fighters. Just ask Michael Bisping, who claims he was “permanently disfigured” by Vitor Belfort during their fight in 2013, where he ended up with a detached retina after eating a spinning head kick.
Unfortunately, it is part of the game that can happen any moment. One of the latest casualties was Cat Zingano, who suffered an eyelid laceration also after being kicked, this time by Megan Anderson at UFC 232 last December.
During a media scrum backstage at UFC Phoenix on Sunday, the former women’s bantamweight title challenger spoke about the pain of the said injury, which she says she has yet to fully recover from.
“My depth perception’s off a bit and my dexterity’s off a bit, but again, it’s been improving. It’s definitely not what it was a month ago,” Zingano told reporters. “My balance is also off a bit, but probably the depth perception is the biggest struggle and having these weird lights going on.”
“They told me I can start training a little bit heavier now, so I’m really excited about that. Sitting on my butt’s been tough, especially not having been able to burn off the fight. It all happened pretty early in the first round so I’m looking forward to getting back in there and definitely doing everything I can to heal up right so this can go quickly.
A professional MMA veteran of almost 11 years, Zingano says this injury is nothing like any other pain she’d ever experienced.
“I thought I lost my eye. I thought if I opened my eye, that it was going to spill out onto my face and I didn’t want to open it in the cage,” Zingano said.
“I’ve never felt pain like that in my life. I’ve dislocated my jaw, I’ve tore up all my fingers, broken ribs, that was nothing compared to what it felt like to get in the eye. I’ve never felt pain like that.
“I’d have a baby ten times before I do that again,” she added.
Zingano’s fight against Anderson was her debut at 145-pounds. After the contest, she dropped to a record of 10-4 (with 8 wins by stoppage).