Michael Bisping confirmed a longstanding rumor this week on his podcast, in the most graphic way possible: his right eye is entirely artificial.
Beyond maybe a few insiders, it was widely believed that his right eye had merely been severely damaged in his bout with Vitor Belfort, in which he took a devastating spinning back kick to the head. But it was never confirmed by Bisping or anyone else that it had been destroyed entirely and replaced by an artificial prosthetic.
In fact, Bisping was asked about his eye by Joe Rogan in a December podcast. Bisping explained that he was medically cleared to fight, but had a number of issues with his eyesight. He implied that he retained his right eye for some time after the orbital injury despite problems. When Joe pressed him, Bisping said “Don’t worry about it.”
Later in the podcast, Bisping admitted it was a “corrective lense” but did not get into details about how long he had been using it. He also said he could still see out of his right eye, if only marginally.
During the podcast segment, which you can view below, Bisping removes it on camera, horrifying his guest, and explains that it was the reason Bisping wore sunglasses indoors frequently during his last year of fighting in the UFC.
This seems to confirm that Bisping had his prosthetic for at least some part of his professional career. It’s not explicitly against any commission rules (but each state has it’s own athletic commission) that you cannot have an artificial eye. Only that you must pass a vision test, which Bisping claims he narrowly was able to do.
Bisping’s career was already a story in perseverance. He overcame significant setbacks, including losing title eliminator fights to Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, and Luke Rockhold. He ultimately avenged most of his losses and won the middleweight title. Despite having limited or no vision in his right eye, he put in his best work in the later half of his career. He also never tested positive for performing enhancing drugs, in an era where drug use was rampant and many of his opponents were later confirmed to be using PEDs.