by Jeff Cain
For Dave Menne, the world is more in focus. Poor vision has hampered the 30 year old fighter’s career, but corrective eye surgery has Menne seeing a bright future. The former UFC Middleweight Champion’s manager, Monte Cox, spoke with MMAWeekly SoundOff Radio about Menne’s sight issues, and his July 23rd Extreme Challenge bout against Team Quest’s Ed “Short Fuse” Herman.
“Two weeks ago Dave Menne came back, and fought…his first time since he’s had his corrective eye surgery, and really looked good. I was real excited about the way that he fought, and he was kind of excited about actually seeing his opponent, and stuff. He had 20/800 vision, and fought for two years. I mean that’s like seeing shadows. 20/800 was his vision, and he did this for two years.” Monte Cox told MMAWeekly.
Monte continued, “When it all came to a head, when he was fighting Niko Vitale, and Matt Hughes was actually the ref, and after the first round, you know Matt came over and just goes Monte that guy’s blind. He can’t see anything, and he went the distance, but you could tell when he’d get hit he would kind of go off in the direction that the punches came from, and I didn’t know, and he didn’t say, how bad his eye sight really was, but he has contacts that he wears, but they get knocked out early in the fight.”
He added, “He fought Pele, and all those guys, you know, Carlos Newton, all those guys with no eye sight, so I just told him that I wouldn’t book him, or use him anymore until he got fixed once I found out how bad it was. Now he’s kind of rejuvenated, and he’s only 30 years old. It’s not like he’s 38 or something. He’s 30 years old, so we’ve got him fighting Ed Herman in the main event of Extreme Challenge 63, on July 23rd. That’s a nice step up where the winner of that should be able to get a call from the UFC…I mean it’s just different to see him, you know, you ask Dave how is it being able to see,and he just gets a big smile on his face like I think I’ve got some fights left in me.”
Further commenting, Monte stated,”When he was fighting Vitale, Vitale would come in, and Dave’s in the middle, like always, standing there waiting, and he’d throw a low kick, and Dave would never see it. It would hit his legs and almost knock him over. That’s when Matt was saying, he goes, this guy doesn’t see anything coming. Some day it will be an amazing story. I don’t think he’s even told me all the stuff that he’s gone through in his fights not seeing.”
Before corrective surgery, Dave Menne was virtually blind. Questioned if Dave’s vision was that bad when he fought Phil Baroni, Monte answered, “Yeah, but he still had his contacts in when he got hit by Baroni. I mean he wouldn’t have lost them that fast. That’s the other problem. His eyes won’t hold these contacts. I mean probably because they’re coke bottle size. I don’t know, but when he gets hit they pop out. I saw that happen for years. The things would pop out, and I didn’t think that much of it. I had no idea what that meant.” “I mean he can’t drive a car or do anything without his contacts. There’s just no way he could do it, and he said when he stood in the ring, and looked across the ring he could make out the vision, but no facial features, no anything.”
Menne’s on a five fight win streak, and trying to build some momentum to get back to where he once was in the fight game. Cox commented, “I was trying to build him back up. The last guy that he fought was a little higher level, but he just really steamrolled him. That was the first one with his eye sight. Now he feels like he’s ready, and Herman was kind of a logical jump. He’s a guy that’s a UFC caliber guy that is ready to go. It’ll be, you know, I think Dave will put it all together, and do well in that fight.”