Fight fans are still talking about former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping’s decision to take a short notice fight at UFC Shanghai against Kelvin Gastelum. This comes after a few weeks after he suffered a devastating loss to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 for the middleweight title.
As seen in the fight, it didn’t go very well for Bisping as he was brutally knocked out by Gastelum in the very first round. Bisping’s own coach, Jason Parillo, even suggested that Gastelum was “a bigger threat” than St-Pierre, but Bisping carried on anyway
The former middleweight champion opened up on his decision to accept this fight on a recent episode of his Believe You Me podcast. He noted that he thinks it was the wrong choice to have such a quick turnaround after a brutal loss and training camp.
“It didn’t go my way, as everybody knows and saw,” said Bisping (transcript courtesy of MMA Fighting). “I felt great going into that fight, I did. Looking back in hindsight, was I overtrained and emotionally and physically tired? Yes I was, but the problem with having a f**king huge ego and thinking you can still beat people is that I knew that but I still thought I could beat Kelvin Gastelum. Not taking anything away from him. He caught me with a beautiful left hook that put me down. God bless him.
“It was a big gamble, it didn’t pay off. Had it paid off it would have been great, but that’s what you do. You roll the dice, you give it a shot, and you hope for the best, and the best man, I guess that was Kelvin so well done to him.”
This marked Bisping’s second brutal stoppage loss in November. Thus, after seeing this, it has brought attention and questions about the safety of allowing a fighter to compete so soon after suffering a serious loss.
It should be noted that the three week turnaround was the shortest of Bisping’s career and the first time in that he has lost back-to-back fights.
Make no mistake about it, the promotion wanted to save this card after former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva was pulled from the main event for a USADA violation. While some can accept the reasoning behind the booking of the bout, some fight fans can’t believe it was made official.
“That fight was me trying to exorcise some inner demons and try and get back in the win column ASAP.,” Bisping explained. “As I said, it was a huge gamble, and for many reasons, it was the wrong move, but I don’t regret it. If you look at the grand scheme of things . . . I can see that it was the wrong move, but at the time it felt right, so I don’t regret it.
“After the GSP fight, when I agree to take the Kelvin Gastelum fight, I thought, ‘Well, I just had a week off, but I was in great shape, so let’s get right back to it,’ and I sparred everyday for a week. That’s all I did for Kelvin, Southpaws, five rounds, for five days, and then I flew out to China, and I was just done. Emotionally, physically, mentally, I was just spent.”
Unlike the St-Pierre fight, Bisping noted this one doesn’t bother him because he’s at peace with his career.
“I’m not looking to become champion again, I’m looking to finish off my career with a couple of fun fights. I went out there, I didn’t get the job done. I couldn’t give a f**k about rankings. I’m not trying to be the champion again. I had that, that was fun, it was a nice time in my life, I can always claim to have had that title, and now it’s time to move on with my life.
“I’m totally fine with it. I’m 38 years old. I’ve got a wife and kids. I’ve got other things I want to focus on in life. Will I do one more fight? Yeah, probably. But that phase of my life now is done, and I’m happy with that. . . You can’t fight forever. I was a champion, no one remains a champion forever, and I’m proud of that.”