Former UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping Says Officials Need to Prevent Concussed Fighters From Being Interfered With…
Yoel Romero defeated Luke Rockhold last weekend, at UFC 221 in Perth, Western Australia to cement himself as the top contender to face UFC middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker. The Australian is indefinitely out with an injury related to a staph infection. What was initially meant to be an interim title fight, was disrupted when Romero missed weight.
Although Rockhold was still eligible to win the belt, Romero wasn’t as a penalty for his weight problems. The larger-than-life Cuban won’t mind though if he gets to snatch the real thing from Whittaker in the near future. However, one of the most bizarre aspects of the fight was how it ended.
After knocking Rockhold into another dimension with two left hands from Hell, Romero went crazy. He charged over to his fallen American opponent who looked like he still hadn’t recovered. Then, in the spirit of Valentines, he proceeded to embrace him and kiss him, telling him that he loved him. Former champion Michael Bisping gave his take what happened.
To be fair to Bisping, even though he’s had bitter verbal exchanges with Rockhold in the past, and delights in telling everyone that he created the template to beat the California native, he had sympathy for Rockhold’s situation. On his Believe You Me podcast, with co-host Luis J. Gomez, Bisping broke down Romero’s actions.
“I don’t take pleasure from seeing somebody knocked out like that, I really don’t,” said Bisping. “He got knocked out and he just looked so devastated, absolutely crushed. Then to make matters worse, Romero — the guy that just knocked him out — gets in his face, pins him up against the fence, has his arms over his shoulders like that so Rockhold literally can’t go anywhere and he’s professing his undying love for him, ‘I love you Luke, I love you.’
Let’s not forget that Michael Bisping has had run-ins with basically every top contender in the middleweight division. Chris Weidman, Luke Rockhold and perhaps most famously Romero have all had verbal exchanges with the divisive British veteran. He said:
”I’ve got to say, in that circumstance, and I’m not trying to knock any of the officials, but really happy Valentines Day, it’s really quite the couple they make there, I’ve got to say, they shouldn’t allow that to happen in future because you got to remember, think about it. I know when I’ve been knocked out you haven’t got a clue what’s going on. You haven’t got a jar of f-king clues where your head is at and you have to piece it back together.”
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) February 11, 2018
Officials at Fault
For their part, Bisping and Gomez agreed that there was no malice intended by Romero. He was simply overcome with passion, and Latin culture is much more expressive when it comes to demonstrating this than you would expect from stoic white western men.
“All of a sudden you have the guy who has just knocked you out with his arms around you, up against the Octagon sexually assaulting you, #MeToo,” said Bisping. “There’s nothing to stop Rockhold elbowing him in the face, punching him because he might still feel the fight is going on. Who knows? I just don’t think they should allow it, certainly not Romero, I mean come on, it was a little bit much.”
It’s a fair point. Former UFC fighter Brendan Schaub made a similar point on Joe Rogan’s MMA Podcast, about the need for officials to intervene quickly to protect concussed fighters. It’s as much for the other fighter’s safety as well. MMA officials need to be more consistent across the board.