Two-time former UFC champion BJ Penn of Hilo is in Salt Lake City, Utah, to undergo cataract surgery in his left eye.
The surgery is to be performed today by Dr. Alan Crandall, whose surgery on boxer Antonio Margarito helped him to return to the ring.
Penn, 34, posted on his website, BJPenn.com, that he had been undergoing acupuncture for vision problems, but the treatment wasn’t working.
“January of last year is when I first noticed there was a problem,” Penn wrote. “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.’
Penn said he was told by physicians the cause of his cataract could be traumatic or could have been caused by Prednisone, a medication he took for a sinus infection.
“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,” he wrote. “The number one reason for the surgery is just for daily life. 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.”
Penn is 1-4-1 in his last six fights, with his last fight a unanimous decision loss in December to Rory MacDonald in Seattle.