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Sight for Sore Eyes

Written by Tom Ngo
February 11th, 2009
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On Monday, former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin underwent successful eye surgery to remove scar tissue from his damaged right eye. Franklin suffered an accidental eye-poke in his bout against Dan Henderson at UFC 93 on January 17th.

Upon returning from Dublin, Ireland after suffering a  split decision loss to Henderson, Franklin’s ophthalmologist initially diagnosed him with a severely scratched cornea.

“The ocular specialist gave Franklin numbing drops followed by several [Lidocaine] injections in the eyeball socket and eyeball itself,” J.T. Stewart, Franklin’s business manager, issued in a statement. “A scalpel was used to cut the scar tissue growth from the eyeball.

“Franklin also has a scar band attaching itself to the eyelid where the eyelid meets the cheek. After another injection to reduce the swelling, the doctor cauterized the eyeball to stop the bleeding.”

For a man that has faced off against some of the most ferocious fighters in the business, Franklin was more nervous about the damage a tiny needle would cause.

“The worst part of [Monday’s] procedure was the first two injections into the eye,” Franklin told MMAJunkie.com. “It is very scary to see the doctor stick a needle and a cauterizing gun on and in your eyeball.”

The former champ states that there is no timetable for his return to action, and no decision regarding which weight class he’ll be competing in when he does return. He made his name at middleweight, however his last two bouts have been in the 205-pound division.

“At this point in time, I’m still [digesting] this decision and really haven’t given it any thought,” Franklin stated. “But the first thought that comes to my mind is that that’s up to the organization. I just want to put on good fights for the fans.”

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