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Monday, 02/11/2013, 05:40 pm

Penn In Utah For Cataracts Surgery: UFC Enlists Dr. Crandall | UFC NEWS

Former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn has traveled to Utah after the UFC insisted on enlisting the service of famed eye surgeon, Dr. Alan Crandall, to repair a damaged eye suffering from cataracts.

The Surgeon, based in Salt Lake City, is best known for his work with Boxing Champion Antonio Margarito and successfully completed the only eye repair surgery on a high profile fighter of this kind to pass through an athletic commissions test for licensure.

For Penn, this is a step in recovery that is long overdue. After attempting to solve the issue with numerous bouts of non-invasive procedures the former UFC champion decided that surgery was the only course of action to insure a proper recovery.

“I got a cataract in my left eye and I’m heading out to do see Dr. Crandall”, disclosed the former UFC Champion. “He is the guy that did Margarito’s eye and the UFC set this up for me.”

For the proud Hawaiian surgery is rarely an option but as Penn explained, this has been an ongoing issue for more than a year.

“January of last year is when I first noticed there was a problem”, said Penn. “I was looking at my iPhone and I really couldn’t tell what was going on. At first, I thought I tore my retina, so I went to my doctor and he said, ‘I can see right away what the problem is, you have a cataract’. The doctor told me it could be traumatic or it could be from this medicine I was taking called Prednisone, which is what I had been using over the previous few years for sinus infections.”

After dropping his last two performances to Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald many have wondered if the former champion would return to action. For Penn that question has been one he’s been very hesitant to answer.

“I’m definitely hesitant to fight right now with the cataract in my eye”, he expressed. “People ask me all the time if I’m going to fight again and I almost just want to change the subject because right now, I definitely don’t want to fight with a cataract in my eye.”

After experiencing a career in Mixed Martial Arts that has spanned the course of nearly twelve-years, has seen two world titles, and has gained global recognition as one of the best fighters in history, Penn admits that this surgery is not only a stepping stone to making a possible return to the cage but is first and foremost about regaining a good quality of life.

“The number one reason for the surgery is just for daily life,” said the future Hall-of-Famer. “I have a tough time driving at night when the lights are shining and I’d like to get that back. On the other hand, you never know what you’re going to be thinking if the surgery goes well. If I go in the gym and I’m knocking down all my sparring partners and doing awesome I would definitely think of fighting again.”

Knowing that this ailment existed nearly 11 months prior to his last bout, Penn insists that regardless of this diagnosis the outcome of his fight with MacDonald wouldn’t have changed.

“No”, said Penn when asked if his eye had any impact on his last performance. “Rory fought a great fight. That was his night”, he stated.

This type of injury is a new one for the MMA landscape. Fighters break this or tear that, but they recover and fight on. However, as previously mentioned, in all of combat sports there has only been one high-profile fighter to return from such a procedure and not only fight, but get licensed by an athletic commission to do so.

Much like Antonio Margarito, if Penn should make a full recovery and wish to return to action he will still have to prove to a governing body that he can safely compete with the repaired eye.

However, for the former two-division champion, the surgery is just the first step in getting the full functionality of his life back and he credits and thanks his longtime employer, the UFC, for giving him the opportunity to see the industry’s leading expert in cataract surgery.

“Best possible scenario is just for life”, emphasized Penn. “Even when I drive and look around, there is always this intense glare. I was actually going to do the surgery with Crandall last year but for some reason I started to treat it with acupuncture for about six months instead. The acupuncture did help out my vision, but I still have the glare and it’s not able to fix that,” he explained.

Penn continued, “I talked to the UFC and Lorenzo and those guys got Dr. Crandall and really expressed to me that they would like me to do the surgery with him. One; for the rest of my life, and two; if I ever want to fight again he is the only guy who has ever passed a commission test and he sits on the board for all cataract surgeons in the country.”

“The UFC really set me up, they are taking first class care of me”, Penn said in closing.

For a fighter who has had such a storied career Penn is used to setting the standard and breaking down barriers. And while being the first UFC fighter to get licensed after cataract surgery is probably an accolade he would have liked to pass up, it’s just another etch in stone for the former champion when he looks back at his time as a prize fighter.


27 Responses to “Penn In Utah For Cataracts Surgery: UFC Enlists Dr. Crandall | UFC NEWS”

  1. Love You BJ Penn says:

    Dont care if he steps in the ring again…as long as he’s happy, im good. He’s done alot in not just UFC but the MMA world. Proud of my local braddah. Mahalo for all the great fights Bj.

  2. Scotty says:

    I would like to see BJ, dedicate himself one more time to 155 after the eye surgery.. When i say dedicate, i mean not just say i have the fire to fight.. Im talking, get the best guys u can around u, NO “yes men” and have them bring out the fuul potential we all have seen.. I hate to say it but Im talking Sean shirk dedication, Kenny Florian Dedication, Diego Sanchez dedication.. Thats the dedication im talking about! If he cant get that dedicated then i say BJ should walk away and i would be happy with that too..

    • POUND YOU BRAH says:

      … and BJ destroyed everyone you just named.

      • Scotty says:

        Exactly! He smashed em because he was that dedicated to smash these and made them look like they werent in the same league as him. Thats why I said, if he can’t get that dedicated and drop to 155 then he should hang em up.. And I would be perfectly fine with that decision because BJ has done alot.. But if he decides to fight again and make a run one more time, I want that dedication and watch him live up to his potential as we all know he can do!

  3. Cody Davis says:

    Hey champ i live in utah and we actaully follow eachother on twitter any way i could come say hi if not i complety understand gl thats a great eye doc

  4. King Prodigy Levreau says:

    Some of the best things in life are just taken for granted. Sending my prayers to Mr. Penn for his surgery and healing afterwards. One love from the “NO” in central cali.

  5. 4kingsKitchen says:

    We all pray for your health bj, best wishes upon your surgery! Finally you can be healthy & get those old injuries patched up! Aloha & god bless you bj penn G.O.A.T. mma champ! – 4KINGSKITCHEN

  6. Ainokea says:

    Praying for you to have a quick and healthy recovery BJ. God Bless

  7. Bob'O says:

    I hope BJ’s surgery goes well. ~Bob’O

  8. Slim Charles says:

    best of luck, BJ.

  9. Sally says:


    Time to retire, brah.

    You will go down as a former champ but not a pound for pound great. You were too lazy early on. Rory is already going to have the legacy you don’t have.

    But at least you won a belt. That is a great accomplishment.

    Enjoy retirement, champ! ALoha!

    • Bob'O says:

      Sally, BJ has held belts in two different UFC weight divisions, not to mention what he accomplished in BJJ as a young American. You might want to study up on what you’re talking about instead of making an idiot out of yourself next time.

      Rory has a long, long road ahead of him before he accomplishes what BJ Penn has. A lot easier said than done. You might want to jump off the stupid wagon just yet. 😉

      Get off of Rory’s sack. Yes he’s a good fighter with a future, well until The UFC makes him fight his herO GSP. Then, he will lose. LMAO! I will enjoy watching their camp destroy themselves and their house of cards crumble. ~Bob’O

    • tim says:

      Dumb fuckn broad if I was ur oleman id smack the the fuck out u havn a mouth like that… but then ag as in u scared of the fuckn dick thats why u eat pussy. BITCH. RORY AINT SHIT BUT DAMN SURE LOOKS LIKE HE HAS TO TAKE ONE EVERY WAKEN MIN OF HIS LIFE

  10. Joe Mak says:

    bj + marv marinovich = 155 lb. belt…and 170 lb. belt…at the same time!!!

  11. Sasquatch says:

    Good luck BJ, hope all goes well!

  12. Mayor of Deviance says:

    I hope everything works out the best for BJ.

  13. Alvin says:

    Best of luck to you, BJ! Would love to see you fight at your best again, but you can still contribute to the sport without putting the gloves on–you have nothing else to prove!

  14. korean jesus says:

    wishing you the best for a successful treatment and speedy recovery!

  15. Dee says:

    This is probably why Dana wants him to retire because he knows the full run down of Penn’s health. All this time we’ve been complaining about him not training and being out of shape and this guy has been battling a long term sinus infection serious enough to be for doctors to be prescribing medication over the last 3 years, and now we find out he has cataract. That goes to show you really do not know what is going on in people’s lives. I’m APOLOGIZE BJ for everything I said in ignorance.

  16. Sean says:

    This is for everyone. Be careful what medicines you take. Always look for a natural cure first.

  17. Twayne says:

    Imua BJ! Our prayers, & best of wishes for your speedy recovery. Return or no return to da’ cage? No mattah already! Your one of da’ G.O.A.Ts’!!!


  18. A. Chung says:

    Although, I would love to see you fight again, especially at 155; however, you need to do what is best for you. Your legacy is secured, you don’t ever need to fight again if you don’t want to, and all of your true fans will always support and root for you in what ever endeavor you choose to do. You will always be my favorite fighter! Best of luck BJ!

  19. ian says:

    im wishing you a full recovery

  20. jbeamazing says: get well bj but here is the next big thing

  21. eyecare says:

    hi best of luck for Cataract surgery.

    thanks for sharing

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