When you talk about fighters who are pioneers in the sport of MMA many names can come to mind. One man helped pave the way to putting his native country of England on the mixed martial arts map. Former UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping is name that modern MMA fans know all to well and is for sure a future UFC Hall of Famer.
“The Count” Bisping is known in the UFC and among fans as one of best “trash talkers” along with being one of the top fighters in the organization.
Bisping’s journey into UFC stardom began after winning TUF Season 3 as a Light Heavyweight. Shortly there after he moved down to the UFC’s middleweight division where he would experience his greatest success in the company. Before establishing himself as a household name in the UFC, Bisping paid his dues and moved up the ranks by beating some the best and toughest competition the company had to offer, putting on classic middleweight performances with opponents like Denis Kang, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Cung Le, and even fellow former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva.
Bisping is regarded as the man the who single handedly carried the UFC European market, thus kicking the door wide open for some of the present stars in the organization. Among accomplishing that however, Bisping’s greatest achievement would happen at UFC 199 where he would capture the UFC Middleweight Championship defeating Luke Rockhold by knockout in the 1st round to become the first champion from the United Kingdom.
Bisping would go onto to eventually lose the title to Georges St-Pierre who made his UFC return and debut as a UFC Middleweight. Then the Brit went on to lose another to rising middleweight contender Kelvin Gestelum by knockout. With back to back losses, it lead Bisping to make a decision that we all probably knew he’d make soon, but not this soon.
The former champion officially announced his retirement from MMA competition via his Believe You Me Podcast,.
“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,” Bisping said.
Bisping previously teased retiring prior to Monday afternoon, following his knockout loss to Gastelum and even back in June 2016 had he been unsuccessful against Rockhold. He also admitted to suffering an injury to his left eye after the Gastelum fight in which he started having flashes out the eye while attending an after party, and since that night the problems have continuously happened in the recent months.
“I realized there’s no flash going on; it’s just my eye, and every time I look left, it flashes. And it still does it now when it’s dark,” Bisping said. “It’s light now so I can’t see it. So I started freaking out, thinking oh my God, I don’t believe this, I’ve got a detached retina in my good eye. I have problems with my bad eye, it doesn’t look good, so obviously I was kind of freaking out.”
Upon seeing his doctors, Bisping confirmed he’d been diagnosed with virtuous detachment in his left eye, a serious condition that would put him at risk for another detached retina. Despite knowing this, Bisping insisted negotiations for a potential retirement fight with former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Sugar” Rashad Evans for UFC London on May 17th, but eventually all of those plans were scrapped.
Bisping explained that his influence for wanting to call it a career in MMA came this past Sunday in the midst of watching the classic boxing film “The Journeyman” while on a plane. Ironically enough, the story of the film centers around a prizefighter who suffers from brain trauma while competing in a fight late in his career. In seeing this, it was then when Bisping knew it was time to walk away.
“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.”
“Congrats to Michael on a Hall of Fame career,” Bisping’s manager Audie Attar said in a statement provided to MMAFighting.com. “The Ultimate Fighter winner, two-time Ultimate fighter coach, winningest fighter in UFC history and first British UFC Champion in history. I’ve been honored to work with Michael towards the championship years and have watched him fight through trials and tribulations as he was a perennial title contender, ultimately reaching the sport’s greatest achievement by winning a UFC Championship.
“Through all that he has achieved, the one thing I’m most proud of is how hard he fought for his family’s future, risking his life on the line each time he stepped into the octagon. I am proud to call Michael a client, but more importantly a dear friend. Now it’s time for Michael to achieve greatness in the next phase of his professional career, and the future looks bright, Mr. Bisping. Thank you for all that you’ve done for our sport.”
In the wake of his retirement, Micheal Bisping leaves an extraordinary legacy with mind blowing UFC records which feature most wins in UFC history, most fights in UFC history, most significant strikes in UFC history, and 2nd most total fight time in UFC history. With the Englishman having these accolades to his credit it would be no surprise if we heard Bisping’s name attached to a certain place for UFC makers, the UFC Hall of Fame. In all, regardless of whether you hate or love “The Count” be it how it got his shot at UFC gold or some the controversial things he’s said, you can’t deny his talent as a Mixed Martial Artist and impact on the sport, bottom line is he came, he saw and he conquered.
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