There will be no more farewell fight for Michael Bisping. Just a farewell.
The former UFC middleweight champion announced his retirement on Monday, saying he has accomplished everything that he had set out to achieve.
“So obviously I’ve teased this for a long time now, I might fight again, I might not. And unfortunately it’s not a fight that I’m announcing. I am going to announce my official retirement from mixed martial arts,” Said Bisping.
“I was watching this movie last night and I just thought, it ain’t worth it,” Bisping said. “It ain’t worth it. I mean, what else am I going to do? I’ve won the belt, I’ve had tons of wins, I’ve done everything that I set out to achieve. What’s the point in flogging a dead horse? Not that I’m a dead horse, but what’s the point? I’ve done everything that I set out to achieve, and fortunately now I’ve used my platform to open other doors. You know, you’ve got to know when to walk away. I’m almost 40 years old, the time is now. So, I want to say, first of all, thank you to my wife. Without her, it wouldn’t have happened. That’s a fact. She was incredible every single step of the way. My children. My dad. My dad was amazing. And of course everyone in the U.K. and around the world that supported me.
“So, yeah, there you go. Great career. That’s that. Thank you everybody.”
It was one hell of a bloody career indeed. And it’s us fans who have to thank Bisping more than he has to thank everybody.
In his announcement, Bisping pointed to an eye injury he suffered during his most recent bout. According to Bisping, he started seeing ‘flashes’ out of his left eye during an after fight party following his loss to Kelvin Gastelum. When the issue persisted in the succeeding months, Bisping sought help and was diagnosed with a ‘vitreous detachment’ in his left eye. The injury put him at risk of suffering another detached retina.
In 2013, Bisping suffered a detached retina in his right eye which forced him to pull out of a fight with Mark Munoz. Although Bisping’s last fight prior to that withdrawal was a UFC 159 scrap with Alan Belcher, Bisping claimed that he suffered the injury during his UFC on Fox 7 bout with Vitor Belfort three months earlier.
According to Bisping, the fight ending head kick in the second round from Belfort caused the eye injury. For fear of not being able to fight again, Belfort said he did not seek medical help after the fight. It was only when the symptoms became very severe, during the lead up to the Munoz fight, when Bisping went to the doctors.
Since that retinal tear, Bisping had five eye surgeries. In 2015, he blasted Belfort’s use of Testosterone Replacement Therapy for causing permanent damage to his right eye. Bisping vowed never to fight anyone with history steroids or drug violations again. But in 2016, he accepted a fight with Anderson Silva and that fight turned his career around.
A Change Of Plans
Bisping admitted that he was ready to call it a career after UFC 209, if he lost to Luke Rockhold. But in one of the bigger surprises the sport has ever seen, Bisping bucked the odds to knock out Rockhold, capture the UFC middleweight championship and become Britain’s first ever ( and the only one to date ) UFC champion. His plans changed.
Four months later, Bisping avenged his most humiliating octagon defeat by successfully defending his belt against Dan Henderson via unanimous decision. It can be recalled that Henderson brutally knocked out Bisping with his patented H-Bomb at UFC 100 in one of the greatest knockouts in UFC history.
Bisping not only became a part of the UFC’s all-time highlight reels on the wrong end, the image of his knockout also became a part of Henderson’s trademarked logo. But even as he was criticized for defending his belt against a 40-year old has been, Bisping established himself as one of the UFC’s top stars with the victory.
After over a year on the shelf, Bisping returned for the biggest fight of his life. Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre had been teasing a return to the octagon for a few years and on November 4, 2017, GSP challenged Bisping for the UFC middleweight title at the main event of UFC 217. St. Pierre submitted Bisping via rear naked choke in the fourth round, ending the Briton’s short reign.
Biggest Mistake Of His Career
Then in what is considered one of the biggest mistakes of his MMA career, Bisping took a fight against Kelvin Gastelum on 22 days notice. Gastelum was supposed to fight former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC Fight Night 122 in China but the latter failed an out of competition drug test and was pulled out of the bout. Despite losing the UFC middleweight three weeks back, Bisping agreed to fight Gastelum and he paid dearly for it.
Gastelum knocked out Bisping at the 2:30 mark of the very first round. Bisping had been stopped before but he had never been knocked out in the first round. But he didn’t just lose against Gastelum, he looked like a lost soul, one who looked like he was ready to walk away from the game.
Still, Bisping hoped to fight one more time and he was eyeing a bout with former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans at the May 15th event in London. The fight never materialized but still, there were no indications that the Count would never fight again inside the UFC octagon.
Then in a surprise, Bisping announced his official retirement on his Believe You Me podcast on Monday, ending a mixed martial arts career that spanned 14 years and one that established Bisping as one of the longest tenured fighters in the UFC and the most successful one coming from the United Kingdom.
The Count’s Legacy
Bisping leaves with an MMA record of 30-9 and a long list of records in the UFC. His 29 fights are the most for any UFC fighter. He also holds the record for most wins in UFC history, most significant strikes landed in UFC history and the second longest total fight time in the history of the promotion.
At UFC 78, Bisping suffered the first loss of his career to Rashad Evans but he became the first fighter from the United Kingdom to headline a UFC event. As we said earlier, he is the first fighter from England to win a UFC belt. He remains as the only fighter to have done so.
Bisping was considered as a mere gatekeeper in the first 12 years of his career but he re-wrote his story after his memorable come from behind win over Anderson Silva in 2016. That win led to his first ever title shot, an unlikely one at that considering he took the fight on 17 days notice. He knocked out a prime Luke Rockhold, won the belt and secured his place among one of the sport’s greats.
More than his accomplishments inside the octagon, Bisping will be remembered for his ability to talk his way to fights. Before Conor McGregor came along, Bisping was the UFC’s top mouthpiece. He could light up an opponent from a five mile radius with his tongue. He was both a hero and villain and for the UFC, he could hype and sell fights like no other and paved the way for McGregor.
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