Photo Courtesy: MMAMANIA.COM
Michael Bisping’s MMA career is nearing its end – That comes as a surprise to nobody.
Fresh off consecutive stoppage losses, the former of which he lost his middleweight championship to the returning Georges St-Pierre, Bisping lobbied for a retirement fight in March in his native England.
There were rumours of a rematch with rival Vitor Belfort, who famously knocked Bisping out in 2013, severely injuring his eye in the process. Belfort, of course, was using testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), which is now banned in UFC competition. For his part, Bisping has stated flat out that he has no interest in trying to settle the score with Belfort.
Earlier in the week, the former champion revealed on his “Believe You Me” podcast that there was indeed a fight offer on the table, and he was in the process of deciding whether or not to put on the gloves one final time. As transcribed by MMAFIGHTING.COM:
“There’s an offer that’s been made to me, and all fairness to the UFC, I’ve been kind of taking my time to give them an answer so I’ve got until the end of the day to give them an answer.
“I’m just debating whether or not I take the fight. For me, whether or not those people can see, I have a bad eye. I have a bad eye and my wife doesn’t want me to continue fighting, and my manager doesn’t want me to continue fighting. I see out of that eye but not as well as I used to, and I’m still a young man so it’s kind of the reason I may hang the gloves up. My wife and manager and friends and people close to me say, ‘Mike, what do you want to do that for? You’ve done it. You’ve had the belt.’ I’ve done it. I’ve done what I set out to achieve.
“I kind of want to go do one last fight in England and they’re like, ‘So what? Five years from now or a year from now, people are gonna forget about all that and you can injure yourself even more.’ but you can injure yourself in any fight, whether or not you’re at 100% health or not. So that’s what we’re up to and I don’t know.”
Nobody can question Bisping’s fighting spirit. It’s what has made him such a staple of the UFC for more than a decade. Let’s not forget, he won the third season of The Ultimate Fighter, all the way back in 2006. To say that Bisping has given everything to the sport would be putting it mildly. It should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody that he would want one final fight, especially on home-soil. Not to mention, he is undefeated in England, going an impressive 19-0.
But, and this is a big but… If a fighter has any doubts about continuing to fight, it may be time to retire. In MMA, the second there are any alternative plans, or you start to plan for life outside of the Octagon, you risk serious injury. We’ve heard UFC President Dana White say that numerous times over the years (Ronda Rousey, Randy Couture, B.J Penn, just to name a few examples.)
With Bisping admitting his family’s reservations about one final scrap, there are undoubtedly some doubts creeping into his head. Even in the buildup to his last fight, he admitted that he isn’t what he used to be, and that it was no longer about titles, but just about saying “F#$^ it” and throwing down. Considering the outcome of his recent bouts, the concern is certainly understandable. Selfishly, fans would love to see the legend given an opportunity to go out with a victory, something very few in combat sports actually do.
Whether or not he ultimately makes one last appearance in the Octagon, Michael Bisping can look back at his Hall of Fame worthy career, and have absolutely no regrets.