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Egg Shen

Michael Bisping Appreciation Thread

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Well, ol' Mike has retired. There's a post in the main news thread, but i thought Bisping was deserving of his own thread.

Not the first, but certainly the most pioneering and influential Brit to ever fight in MMA, the first British UFC Champion and a set in stone Hall of Famer. Never everyones cup of tea but a fighter you had to pay attention too, both inside and outside of the cage.

Michael Bisping - Legend. Post some thoughts...

 

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A shame - would've liked for him to have a match to send him off, but he's done more than his fair share. I liked him. He was a mouthy fucker but always owned up to it either being him selling a fight, or him being an idiot and needing a bit of a slap. In behaviour, though, he's been a thoroughly respectable individual, and I'm glad to see him get out of the game with his health relatively intact for someone in a professional combat sport. Also glad he got to be a champ, and do it by not only taking out one of the most obnoxious dickheads in the game, but also by doing something which people kept saying he couldn't, i.e. a knock-out punch.

He's had some great feel-good moments at the end of his career, even if, in the context of the modern game, they weren't unquestionable: beating Anderson Silva and avenging that knockout against Hendo. And even in losing the belt against GSP, he got to be part of the comeback, and perhaps one of the best ever performances, of MMA's GOAT. The UFC have had a great representative in him; I hope he gets a good commentary, analysis or punditry job.

They should have some kind of retirement ceremony for him at the next PPV. He's the British Rocky, he deserves as much.

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Fucking hell, for some reason the first thing that crossed my mind when I saw the thread title was 'fuck me has Bisping died?" Thank fuck that's not the case. Should've been obvious to me really because this day has been coming since November.

I'm glad he's decided to stop, especially after reading him saying about his good eye playing up now as well. While there were still a couple of fun fights that could've been made, nothing is worth going blind over. And what would he even have been hanging around for really? A fight against a shot to shit Rashad Evans? A fight against Machida that could've been an absolute snoozer, or worse seen Bisping knocked out again? And it's not even like they would've been huge paydays. I'm sure Bisping said on his podcast recently that the payoff for the GSP fight wasn't quite as much as expected but then he stopped himself from saying too much. Shame if that's true because both him and GSP did a grand job building up that one. 

The timing of him making this announcement kind of makes me think he might've been hanging on for that Nick Diaz fight. There'd been a fair bit of talk about that and Bisping was into it. Then Diaz gets done for domestic violence, killing any chance of Bisping vs Diaz, and within days Bisping announces his retirement. Might've been nothing of the sort and just a coincidence but it all adds up.

Anyway, I became a huge fan of Bisping. It was tested at times with stuff like him spitting at Jorge Rivera's corner, but I've got way more good memories than bad when it comes to 'The Count'. Like most on here, I was first introduced to Bisping on TUF 3 back in 2006. To this day, that season is often held up as one of the best ever but I've always felt like Bisping didn't get enough credit for that. Yeah, having Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock as coaches was a masterstroke and that's undoubtedly what initially brought the viewers in. But the show itself, episode to episode, Bisping was just as big a part of the show. The Tito and Ken stuff was at the gym but the 'back at the house' bits, which was a bigger part of the show than it is now, was ruled by Bisping. He was so entertaining on that show.

Post-TUF there was always something going on with him as well. So many highlights. He was a huge part of Dana bringing the UFC back to the UK in 2007. At that point they'd only ever done one show over here, back in 2002 at the Royal Albert Hall. So it'd been 5 years and, without Bisping coming along, who knows how many more years it'd have been? He had that memorable entrance in Manchester against Elvis Sinosic, where the moment and rabid crowd got the best of him and he uncharacteristically ran to the cage Ultimate Warrior-style. Later on I got to see him fight live twice over here - vs Jason Day at UFC 85 in London and vs Chris Leben at UFC 89 in Birmingham. From there he was great fun as coach on the UK vs USA season of TUF, where he spent all his time trying to wind up Dan Henderson. Of course, we all saw how that ended. He had that great performance in Manchester where he survived a knockdown to come back and stop Denis Kang. Had a fun fight with Wanderlei Silva on the UFC's first ever Australia show. Coached TUF again opposite Mayhem Miller. The highlights being him shouting 'PACK IT IN!' to his team who were all arguing. And of course, the coaches challenge where poor old Bisping hilariously slipped and fell straight off the table mid-celebration.

The main highlight will always be 2016 though. After 10 years in the UFC, some bad losses, a detached retina, I think everyone had written off any chance of Bisping even getting a shot at the title much less winning the thing. 2016 was just Bisping's time though. First he finally got that Anderson Silva fight in London. A fight he'd been working towards since 2008 when he first dropped to middleweight. It was a fight I was interested in but I was fully expecting Bisping to get slaughtered. Instead they went and had a FOTY contender, and Bisping won! At that point it seemed like the ideal time for Bisping to retire. People saying 'he was never the champ but he did beat Anderson Silva' seemed like as good as it could get for Bisping. Then he stepped in against Luke Rockhold on short notice, a fight he had zero chance in...and Bisping went and KO'd him in a round to finally become UFC champion. As if it couldn't get any better, he capped off an incredible year by beating Dan Henderson, in Manchester, in another FOTY contender. Successfully defending his title AND avenging his worst career defeat in one go. You'd be hard pressed to find too many fighters who had a better year than Bisping's 2016. 

I really wish the Gastelum fight didn't happen. It would've been a lot more fitting for Bisping to go out on the GSP fight. Huge title fight, on PPV, at Madison Square Garden, against the best ever. The Gastelum fight felt like such a bad idea at the time, even worse looking back. To go from a gruelling fight against GSP to jumping straight back in 3 weeks later against a killer like Gastelum, and having to fly all the way to Shanghai for the privilege, fuck that. But that's Bisping all over. He fought all comers for a fucking decade. Dana has even gone on record a few times and said that Bisping is one of the few guys who never once turned a fight down or even hesitated. Which is what pissed me off when he was out injured last year and people shat on him for 'ducking' Yoel Romero. Jumping in against Gastelum with pretty much zero prep time shits all over that nonsense. 

I've always said that Bisping will be the type of fighter who people will moan about when he's here but miss when he's gone. He's been such a fixture throughout the entire time I've been a MMA fan, it's going to be weird not getting that 2 or 3 times a year anymore. But he's still around in the form of his podcast and we'll still get him as an analyst. Well we did on FOX. Hopefully ESPN keep him in that role. Maybe he even does some colour commentary now? Who knows? I'm really glad he's called it a day though. The idea of a 'farewell fight' is all well and good but what if it goes wrong and he loses? Or his eye gets fucked up more? Sometimes it's best to just leave it alone. Let's face it, all we really want from that 'farewell' thing is the cool moment of him leaving his gloves on the canvas and giving a speech, and he can do all that without fighting again. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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I've gone back and forth with Bisping over the years. 

My first proper exposure to him was on TUF 3. Back then it was difficult not to like him. I especially enjoyed his occasional deadpan remarks, and that drunken rant he had in the garden during one episode. There were also signs that he was a decent bloke underneath it all. I remember him consoling Ross Pointon after he beat him on the show. As Wand said, he was one of the best characters in TUF history. In many ways, he was the fighter most synonymous with TUF. He not only won TUF 3, but he also went on to be a coach on two seasons. All of his appearances on TUF came when the show was still relevant. 

However, by 2010, I had started to turn against him a bit. There was the Jorge Rivera incident in Australia, where I felt he made a fool out of himself. He also fought Mayhem Miller and Chael Sonnen during a period where I was a fan of both. Therefore, Bisping  was a natural enemy. Bisping was interviewed by Helwani just after his win over Mayhem. After watching that interview, I started to warm to him again. He talked about PEDs in MMA, and strongly expressed that he was a clean fighter. That was a refreshing statement at the time. I was used to fighters dancing around the subject and being very careful with what they said (Frank Mir for example). For all my reservations about him at the time, I believed that Bisping was genuine. He's stayed consistent with his views on PEDs over the years and I have always admired him for that. I also came to realise that Bisping was a unique figure in MMA. One of the reasons I am such a Pride fanboy is because most of the fighters that are synonymous with Pride are all completely different from one another. They generally looked, talked, and fought in different ways. Likewise, there is no one really like Bisping in MMA, especially in terms of personality. 

Anyway, here are some of my favourite fights of his:

Vs Sinosic: This is more down to the occasion than his actual performance. I wasn't in attendance that evening, but I have been told that the ovation he got inside Manchester Arena was Ricky Hatton-esque. 

Vs Anderson Silva: It was expected over the years that Bisping would eventually fight Silva for the middleweight belt, and that Silva would polish him off with relative ease. Bisping, however, became a bit of a nearly man in the division. He kept losing fights that would guarantee him a fight shot, which kept delaying the Silva fight from happening. When they eventually fought, Silva was past his best. Despite this, few picked Bisping to prevail against him. Against all the odds, Bisping did just that, and won a hard-fought points decision. If his career had ended after that night, it would have been a fitting end to his career. 

Vs Rockhold: What more needs to be said? Rockhold had looked the business against Weidman and had mauled Bisping just 18 months prior. Rockhold was making a case for being the best head to head middleweight in MMA history. Yet, on short notice, Bisping somehow manged to pull off one of the biggest and most satisfying upsets in MMA history. It was awesome. 

 

 

Edited by jimufctna24

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What I love about the Rockhold win and it sums up Bisping's love it or hate it personality was how he acted post fight. He just kept winding up Rockhold more and more. I can remember Rockhold absolutely  seething at the post fight press conference whilst Bisping beer in hand was laughing and waving the UFC belt at him. 

 

Bisping seemed to turn up right when the UFC really needed a British guy to break through. TUF was the perfect stage for him as well back when it felt fresh. He is gonna be missed. He propped up alot of the cards and would fight anywhere in the world on seemingly any notice. Always enjoyed him beating the breaks off an obviously roided up Cung Le in China. 

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Perfect post there, Wand. It can’t be understated how much of an influence he’s had on UK MMA and tbh MMA as a whole in some respects (certainly trash talking).

 

Managed to see him fight in person twice, at UFC 105 & 204. My lasting memory of 105 is unintentionally finding the fighter hotel (walking past at the moment GSP was leaving), saw lots of the fighters who were understandably subdued as it was 2 hours before the weigh ins - this was the days of the singular and public weigh in. Anyway, Bisping got out of a car and looked absolutely terrible, incredibly distant, like seriously ill and as gaunt as a perennial smack addict. He went to go head inside of the hotel, tried to push the door open (it was a pull) and when it wouldn’t budge he just proceeded to absolutely lose his rag with this inanimate object - pushing, pulling, slapping and swearing at. This literally went on for about 30 seconds before one of his team (I think it was when he was still with Wolfslair) opened it.

I remember legimately thinking he was going to keel over, it was quite scary tbh. But then like 90 mins later at the weigh in he looked like a totally different person, not anywhere near as gaunt/lifeless and actual colour in his cheeks. That was 9 years ago, fuck knows how he’s managed that weight cut for so long, I’ve seen many fighters during weight cut but never as bad as that.

Bit of a tangent but he’s been a great role model for the sport.

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Some great write ups in here. Bisping may have had my favourite MMA career of all time. It feels like we've seen him at his worst and his best. A proper rollercoaster of ups and downs. I've absolutely hated his guts at times, yet his Title win might be my favourite ever. 

Like most, my first exposure came from his participation in TUF 3. He stole the show that season. He seemed like a super likable, funny guy. "Goodnight. I'll most likely murder you in the morning!" Brilliant. Plus as someone who was going to University in Preston at the time, it was awesome to see a guy who lived 15 minutes away go all the way to winning the tournament. I've never liked football or cricket or whatever. This was the first time I could get behind someone from my own country playing sports overseas. Around that time I actually bumped into him in Preston city centre doing a bit of shopping. Obviously new to fame, he seemed really happy to be recognised and had no problem stopping for a chat with me and my dorky mates.

We were there live for his fight against Elvis Sinosic at UFC 70. He was the main draw for us and the reaction he got, at the time, was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before. The place was absolutely deafening. I thought I'd seen big reactions for guys like Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock. They were nothing compared to this. It was insane.

It all went a bit shit for quite a while after that though. I know he never had a problem playing heel and that he knew that being hated was always better than being boring, so I could never determine whether that played a factor in it. Perhaps he'd just taken it too far. Either that, or was just turning into an insufferable prick. First there was the Matt Hamill fight, where he barely won a controversial decision, yet cut a post-fight promo like he'd just destroyed him. I might be remembering it wrong, but I'm sure he acted a prick at the post-fight press conference too, refusing to admit it was close, never mind the fact that the majority of the media and fans had scored it for Hamill. Then you had his performance on the UK vs. USA season of TUF. Squirting water in people's faces. What a twat. Even as a Brit, I couldn't wait for Dan Henderson to chin him. That KO at UFC 100 is still one of the most satisfying of all time. Henderson was the biggest babyface, and Bisping was a loud mouth bell-end, so to see Dan connect so beautifully, then follow up with another just for a laugh, I fucking LOVED it.

The Rivera stuff may have been the worst of all though. It was all done in jest, and was doing wonders for building up their match, yet Bisping seemed to be purposefully taking it personal just to be a prick. Gozzing on the corner was indefensible. After that, I was quite happy to watch him continuously fail in Title eliminator fights.

Something changed along the way though. Once you had guys like Vitor walking around looking like the Incredible Hulk, despite supposedly needing to be on TRT for a, "testosterone deficiency," Bisping started to stand out as the only guy willing to fight fair. When everyone else was taking the (neon) piss out of the very obvious loophole, he was happy to face them clean regardless. Around this time, I actually ended up sitting near him at the Bar√£o vs. McDonald show in London. We managed¬†to bag some free tickets from Dana back before Conor and Ronda made the sport too popular for that to be a regular thing. We got a couple of ¬£400 tickets that were at the back of the floor seats. They were actually pretty rubbish seats, with it being impossible to see what was happening whenever the action hit the floor, but it allowed us to sit amongst a bunch of celebrities and fighters. I remember rolling my eyes at being sat next to Bisping, still convinced he was a knob. Annoyingly though, he proved me to be completely wrong. He was sound all night. Happy to chat with everyone, super friendly, not complaining when a single trip to the toilet took over an hour with how many photos he had to take with the fans, I did a total 180 on him that night. That was further compounded when I met him before the¬†Machida vs. Mu√Īoz show in Manchester, when he was great again. I guess we'll never know if he grew up a bit during that time, or decided to reign it in a bit with the heel act, but from then onwards he slowly turned into one of my favourites.

By the time he was fighting CB Dollaway and Thales Leites, it felt like he was winding down a good-but-not-great career, which was a shame. Then when they announced the Anderson Silva fight, that became his version of a title fight. He might never win the belt, but at least he’ll get a shot (and likely lose) to one of the greatest of all time. I had to be there. For me, almost as memorable as the fight itself is the go-home promo he cut in the back of a taxi with Ariel Helwani. Proper passionate, you couldn’t help but root for him. I remember watching that before heading to the arena and it felt like Christmas morning I was so excited.

The Anderson fight is easily the most dramatic fight I‚Äôve ever seen. When Anderson hit that knee and started celebrating, people were grabbing their coats and leaving. I was checking I had everything in my pockets, planning my exit. But then!¬†I‚Äôll never ever forget the buzz that slowly spread around the arena as people started to realise that the fight wasn‚Äôt over. I‚Äôm genuinely getting goosebumps thinking about it now. Everyone slowly standing up or running back to their seats, the noise getting louder and louder as the ring card girl walked around the Octagon to signify the next round. It was absolutely magical to experience live. Proper spine-tingling stuff. ‚ÄúFucking hell, it‚Äôs not over! Oh My GOD! IT‚ÄôS NOT OVER! IT'S NOT OVER!‚ÄĚ When he went on to win, man, what a moment. Just the best live experience ever. I think everyone collectively decided he needed to retire there because it was never getting any better than that.

Then the unthinkable happened and he got the Rockhold fight. I still smile ear to ear thinking about everything involving that. Just watch the last thirty seconds of this. Absolutely hilarious.

"Weak as piss! Kiss my arse!" Haha! I love it! To think this was the same guy that everyone hated! Has there ever been a greater babyface turn?

When he won the title, it was like a movie. Ninety nine times out of one hundred that fight would've probably gone the other way. It was the most amazing, unbelievable, satisfying fluke in history, made all the greater by how much he rubbed it in Rockhold's face. He said forever that this was his destiny, and by that point it was hard to argue. Somehow, despite that division being filled with killers that would almost certainly destroy him, he somehow managed to hold the belt. Fantastic. 

We went to his defence against Dan Henderson live and it was tonnes of fun. Almost unbelievable looking back that these were the same two fighters from UFC 100. I couldn't have wanted a more different outcome. It was heart-in-your-throat stuff every time Henderson caught him with that left. 

And then finally, just when my love of MMA was at its lowest, Bisping vs. GSP provided the best build up and most exciting fight of the year. Fair play to the lad. Even at the very end he was making me more interested in his fights than anyone else on the roster could even dream of. It's a shame Conor McGregor exists because without him I think Bisping is probably the greatest at talking up a fight and getting you invested one way or another.

God, I'll miss him. He'll leave a huge void now he's gone. If anyone has not seen it, the "My Destiny," special they did on him building up the Henderson rematch is pitch perfect. I've watched the last ten minutes loads of times. It never gets old.

Finally, let's all remember, even in retirement Bisping has been the king of trolling - Luke Rockhold will never get that rematch. Fucking get in.

Edited by Supremo

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Fucking brilliant post Supremo! I thought I'd pretty much covered all my Bisping highlights but you've gone and reminded me of a bunch more with that post. I don't know how I forgot that "WEAK AS PISS!" interview. The taxi promo with Ariel right before the Anderson fight was my biggest omission though. That was a WrestleMania go-home show type of promo. I love theway he started off giving a stock answer then halfway through stopped himself and went 'fuck all that' and just went in.

Reading your post, he had more lowlights in his dickhead period than I recalled. I remember going off him big time for a bit and reading your post, a lot of my reasons were the same as yours. Although, must admit I really enjoyed him on TUF 9, I rooted for Hendo in the fight but that was more because I loved Hendo than anything else. But the spitting thing with Rivera and the way he carried on with Hamill made him look a right prick.

That he mostly made people forget all that though, speaks volumes about how he turned opinions and the perception of him around by the end. I still clearly remember how hated he was around the time of that first Hendo fight. The amount of pisstaking and photoshops of Hendo KOing him were on par with what Ronda Rousey got after the Holm KO. But Bisping took it in his stride and came back. Now you don't really see much hate for him at all. Even the haters seem to begrudgingly respect him for what he's done as an underdog clean fighter in a sport riddled with roiders. Americans seem mostly to have warmed to him a bit as well. 

I think what Bisping's career symbolises most is just sheer persistence and hard work. GSP even touched on it and gave Bisping props recently on Rogan's podcast. Bisping just refused to fuck off. You look at the losses and setbacks he had in his career, there aren't many fighters who would've maintained the determination to keep bouncing back for another go at it. For years and years he was the 'nearly man'. He was good but not quite good enough. He'd make it right to the number one contenders fight, then lose. Time and time again. The Tim Henman of MMA. He was a jack of all trades but a master of none. He wasn't a huge KO puncher, wasn't a submission ninja, wasn't a gorilla wrestler.His main attributes seemed to be his conditioning and heart. In a division as strong as middleweight, there's no reason to have believed that Bisping, in his late 30s and one-eyed, could've gone on to do what he did. He's arguably the biggest overachiever in MMA history (besides Bryan Caraway somehow pulling Miesha Tate) when you really think about it.

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Aye, great write-up Supremo. A friend of mine also met him before the Machida vs Munoz show and said that he was sound. 

Let's also not forget this beauty from after the Cung Le fight:

 
Quote

 

michael @bisping · 15h

@GarethADaviesDT Your lack of knowledge never fails to surprise me.

 

 

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I never saw this much-vaunted promo in the taxi, but now I'm intrigued. I've found the video, but it's the whole lot and I don't have masses of time right now. I'll watch the rest later, but for the time being, could any of you tell me when in the clip the promo comes up?

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14 minutes ago, Carbomb said:

I never saw this much-vaunted promo in the taxi, but now I'm intrigued. I've found the video, but it's the whole lot and I don't have masses of time right now. I'll watch the rest later, but for the time being, could any of you tell me when in the clip the promo comes up?

It's right near the end of the 'A Day In London with Michael Bisping' video. Just had a quick look and you want from around 49:30 on. 

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Going to have to jump in also to say, brilliant post Supremo!

I've always been a fan. I remember the time when everyone hated him, and I could see why, but I had the pleasure of meeting him a coupe of times and he's been an absolute gent. He did a Q and A before one of the UK events which was brilliant. I remember him going on a rant about the Matt Hamill fight. He started off answering someone's question about whether he thought he won the fight with, "I don't really want to answer this question, because I get asked it all the time, and I'll just end up going off on one about it......." Then had a brilliant rant about it, ending with something along the lines of "The 3 judges thought I won the fight, Dana white thought I won the fight, the referee thought I won the fight, I WON THE FUCKING FIGHT!....... See, look what you've made me do." 

I've watched that my destiny video more times than I care to remember, just brilliant. 

I've been so fortunate to see him live multiple times, including the Anderson Silva fight, and I got goosebumps reading Supremo's write up! I remember stopping people from leaving telling them it wasn't over, and people just losing their shit. Such a unique experience and atmosphere. 

I've been to events and football matches, and nothing has topped the Manchester Bisping/Sinosec atmosphere for me. 

Amazing career from an amazing bloke who I am really happy for, and so glad he's got the financial rewards he deserves. 

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Have a watch of this. MMAFighting have put together a compilation of a load of Bisping's interviews with Helwani and bits from press conferences and stuff. Goes all the way back to 2010 and finishes up on the GSP fight. You really get a sense of the mad journey his career took watching this. 

And I've got to say, people call Conor McGregor 'Mystic Mac' but check this quote from around 11:35 of the video...

Quote

"I'm gonna beat CB Dollaway on Saturday night and then hopefully I get a quick turnaround and that will be successful. In the meantime, Rockhold will beat Weidman, as much as it pains me to say that. Then hopefully I get my rematch with Rockhold. This time next year, you're looking at the new middleweight champion of the world! There you go. There you go."

It wasn't exactly a year but fucking hell. That quote is from April 2015, he beat Rockhold for the title in June 2016. So he was only off by a couple of months. It sounded so far-fetched and ridiculous when he said it there but he pretty much nailed it. 

 

Edited by wandshogun09

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