by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
When the Quad Cities Silverbacks attempt to take their first step towards defending their two-time IFL Championship on February 2nd in Houston, Texas, they will be without one of the team’s most exciting and dependable fighters, Rory Markham.

Markham, who is 4-1 in the IFL, explained his absence from the card to MMAWeekly shortly after having laser eye surgery to fix his injury.

“What I had in my eye is what they call a 3% retinal hole,” said Rory. “[They call it 3%] because that’s how big the hole was. It’s impact induced, so it’s from getting hit in the eye over the course of the last couple of months.”

According to Markham, if he had not found out about the injury when he did, it could have lead to a potentially devastating prognosis

“It can lead to a retinal detachment eventually, which is a very serious injury that sometimes leads to blindness,” exclaimed Rory. “Luckily I caught it early enough in stage one, that’s the earliest you can catch it.”

Markham continued, “I went in, they welded it up, and the IFL paid for it. They [the IFL] made good on their promise to insure us as fighters, which I can do nothing but thank them for that.”

Rory is not only happy the IFL came through with financing his surgery, but he’s also grateful to them for being the reason he found out he had the injury in the first place.

“I had no problems with my vision at all whatsoever, but we had a routine ophthalmology exam for the 2nd of February Houston show. I needed to get my eyes cleared again and that’s when the doctors found it,” explained Markham.

Rory added, “[Having fighters get tested for medical clearance] is one thing the IFL has always done and will continue to do so. That’s the last complaint I’d ever make is to have to get these exams done and all that again. They’re all for the fighters’ benefit.”

As for a prognosis of when he’ll return, Markham stated, “It’s a quick out-patient procedure and the doctor said with a good 3-4 weeks of absolutely no contact – no impact to the face or eyes – I should be back 100% and ready to fight.”

Rory’s replacement on the February 2nd card against the Bas Rutten coached Los Angeles Anacondas will be Victor Moreno, who sports an impressive 20-7 record and will be participating in his first fight of the year.

Interestingly enough, one of Moreno’s only losses came at the hands of the man he’s temporarily replacing on February 2nd, Rory Markham.

“I can’t say that I know too much about him, except for when I fought him, so I don’t know how he is in the room [training] or any of that, but I can say this much, that kid comes to fight,” said Markham of his replacement.

“He’s going to bring it against Jay Hieron. He likes to bang and he’s got some good reach, so it should be interesting. I can at least guarantee that fans can expect fireworks out of Victor. He comes in, sets up and is ready to throw,” further exclaimed Rory.

Victor’s temporary ascension into the ranks of the Silverbacks comes from the fact that he was recommended by a trusted acquaintance of the team.

As Markham explained, “[UFC veteran] Josh Neer is friends with him and suggested him knowing Victor’s potential. So if Josh Neer recommends him, I stand behind whatever Neer’s decision is.”

Even though injury will prevent Rory from being in the ring on February 2nd in Houston as the Silverbacks begin to make a run at an unprecedented third straight IFL title, he will be at the show and actively participating in a new role.

“Absolutely I’ll be at there,” said Markham. “Pat [Miletich, Silverbacks Coach] is like, ‘Hey buddy you’re going to wear a different hat this time out. We’re going to make you a coach. We need you; we need you for the support and helping out the guys.'”

“It’s cool to know that you’re needed and not only just because you can throwdown. So I’m working right now with my guys and team and hopefully I’ll get somebody to throw a Superman-punch for me in my stead,” concluded Rory with a chuckle.