Michael Bisping Opens up on Decision to Retire

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Michael Bisping
Image Credit: Getty Images

The big news last week was the fact that Michael Bisping decided to call it a career.

Bisping ends his career with a professional mixed martial arts record of 30-9. The former UFC middleweight champion had a late-career resurgence including wins over Anderson Silva, Luke Rockhold, and Dan Henderson, his last two fights didn’t go the way he wanted.

Bisping lost the title to former UFC two-division champ Georges St-Pierre by submission in the main event of the UFC 217 last November.

Bisping recently spoke with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour to reflect on his pro-MMA career and decision to retire from the sport.

“I was retired, but I just hadn’t made it formal yet,” Bisping admitted Monday on The MMA Hour. “It’s been a hell of a ride, it’s been amazing, but I knew watching that movie, I’m like, yeah, this is it, this is the end,” Bisping said. “I can’t do this to my family anymore. I can’t do it to myself. Obviously my eye is in terrible shape, and my good eye, I’m having a couple of issues with that as well. Nobody wants to go blind, and a friend of mine as well said, ‘You know if you went blind, you would give any amount of money in the world and get your sight back,’ and of course you would, so it just isn’t worth it.”

“My knee still gives me problems,” Bisping said. “I’m still getting treatment on it three times a week, and that doesn’t seem to be getting better. I’m almost 40 years old as well. Forty years old. I’ve had more fights than anyone in the UFC, I’ve had more wins than anyone, I’ve won the belt, I’ve made some money, I’ve fought literally all over the world. What more is there to do? You would be a fool to carry on.

“Now, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to miss it terribly. I’m going to miss it every day. Every time I watch a fight, I’m going to wish I could do it. So, I will miss the sport terribly, I’ll still train, still keep in shape. I’ll probably still flirt with the idea of having a fight again, so that why I told the UFC to take me out of the USADA testing pool, so it’s not just as easy as saying I’ll fight next month. No, I’ve got to go through the testing pool again, so I’m officially retired on all fronts.”

Despite the speculation of retirement, he fought again but lost to Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Shanghai just three weeks after competing in the biggest fight of his career.

Bisping was eying another fight under the UFC banner and even potentially had his sights set on former champion Rockhold, whom Bisping won the title from back at UFC 199 with a huge upset KO, but that fight never happened.

Bisping did agree that ending his career after the fight with GSP would have been ideal.

“It would’ve been the perfect ending, I guess, to fight a legend like Georges St-Pierre in Madison Square Garden [at UFC 217], lose the belt and then say, ‘You know what, I’m retired.’ That would’ve been perfect,” Bisping said. “It would’ve been. But first and foremost, the reason why we do this, we take fights and we take these risks, is to make money. That’s what we do them for and that’s why I started doing this.

“My goal when I got into the fight game was, hopefully, because I left school at 16 — my goal was to make enough money from fighting to be able to go to college and get a trade, or get some kind of training in something so I could get a decent paying job. That was my goal, and it far exceeded those expectations. So the point I’m making is, I do it for money, and I was able to get a quick turnaround, no fight camp, nothing like that, and go into that fight.

“Now, looking back in hindsight, it was a big mistake. I was over-trained. I was malnourished. I was weak as a f*cking dog. I was. Sh*t, I remember I was Shanghai and I looked myself in the mirror and I’d lost all muscle tone and stuff. I’m going, ‘Jesus Christ, look how skinny and pathetic I look.’ It was just too much. But it is what it is, I still thought I could beat him, and I still think if I was to take a rest and have a proper training camp, I could’ve won that fight. But fair play to him, he caught me and well done. So yeah, no regrets.”

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