Former UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping Has Officially Retired From Professional MMA…
There goes another old-school great. The UK’s first MMA champion, Michael Bisping, has officially retired from the sport. He broke the news on his Believe You Me Podcast. After a number of months considering his position, Bisping decided that enough was enough.
Bisping was destined to be remembered as one of those journeymen who would put on an all-action performance but never quite do enough to win the title. That was until he stepped in to fight Luke Rockhold with a week’s notice. He knocked the then-champion out and would hold the belt for two years.
It’s amazing how perceptions of fighters change. In his early days, Bisping was despised by American fans. He was openly antagonistic and didn’t care what anyone thought of him. However, he never achieved more love than when he took a fight against Kelvin Gastelum in China, two weeks after losing to Georges St. Pierre.
The Clitheroe, UK fighter explained his reasons for quitting to co-host and comedian Luis J. Gomez. Basically, age doesn’t wait for anyone. Health problems and his family were two major factors in his decision. Bisping said:
“It ain’t worth it. What else am I going to do? I won the belt, I’ve had tons of wins. I’ve done everything I set out to achieve.” What’s the point of flogging a dead horse? Not that I’m a dead horse, but what’s the point? … I’ve used my platform to open other doors. You’ve got to know when to walk away. I’m almost 40 years old – the time is now.”
Knowing when to walk away is one of the toughest decisions a fighter will ever make. How many overstay their welcome and end up like Chuck Liddell, for example? The ‘Iceman’ lost 5 of his last 6 fights – 4 of those by knockout – and now at the age of 48 is making a return. That won’t be Bisping.
As an action fighter, Bisping has taken a lot of damage throughout his career. The most obvious injury that he carries is the damaged retina of his right eye. That happened when a juiced-up Vitor Belfort viciously kicked the ‘Count’ in the head. He’s never been forgiven.
“It’s been a long journey – in 2003, I started training,” Bisping said. “So 15 years as a professional fighter, 12 or 13 years in the UFC. You can’t do it forever. I’ve done it for a long time, and of course, I’ve got issues with my eye. After the Gastelum fight, I started having issues with my good eye, which I’ve never spoken about before.”
Bisping is one of the longest-serving fighters in the UFC. Love him or hate him, there’s no doubt that he was one-of-a-kind. He also holds a ridiculous number of records. ‘The Count’ has the most wins ever in the middleweight division and is tied for most wins overall with Georges St. Pierre. What a career.
The MMA world is losing a character. We’ve got a new generation of younger fighters coming through. ‘The Count’ is the definition of old-school though and he might only be truly appreciated now that he has left the sport behind him. Best of luck Michael Bisping. Legend.