When Michael Bisping announced that he would be looking to end his career in 2018, UFC London was the most likely venue for his departure from the sport. The former middleweight champion seemed destined to bid his farewell to fight fans in front of a home country crowd, so there was an almost tangible disappointment when Bisping announced he was not appearing on the St. Patrick’s Day event.
Bisping’s friend, former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, was seemingly the candidate for the Brit’s last fight. With “The Count” offsetting retirement plans, for the time being, Evans is now forced to look for a new opponent.
Evans told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that it is likely ‘contract problems’ between Bisping and the UFC which is behind the cancellation of the bout:
“I started training and getting ready for the fight, but then I didn’t hear anything back about a contract,” Evans said in relation to the fight (h/t Peter Carroll of MMAFighting.com). “Finally, I got a contract, but that was on the day that I learned that Bisping wasn’t going to take the fight. He wasn’t going to do the fight because he was having some kind of contract problems with the UFC.”
“I don’t think the fight will happen now,” he added. “I think that was a fight that made sense to him at that moment. I don’t think it’s something that’s going to make sense for him. It may appeal to him, it may not. I really don’t know, but I’m not going to sit around and wait for it. I’ll just fight whoever and see what comes next.”
Evans admitted that he was under the impression was set to go ahead, but did not question Bisping in details when he learned that this was not the case:
“We spoke twice: once was when I accepted the fight — it was really respectful, ‘Good luck in camp’, kind of like the situation I had with Chael [Sonnen] — and the second time was when he told me that he wasn’t going to do the fight because of his situation. I didn’t ask him, I can only speculate, but I don’t know.”
Is there something much bigger in the pipeline for Michael Bisping, or has he fought his last bout in the UFC? Let us know in the comments section below.