Michael Bisping Talks Injury Withdrawal, Admits 'Maybe We Do Go Too Hard'
From MMAFighting.com's Ben Fowlkes:
Jun 11, 2012 - It was a call that Michael Bisping dreaded making. In six years with the UFC heíd never had to do it before, but now he had to call up matchmaker Joe Silva and tell him that he wouldnít be able to make his date with Tim Boetsch at UFC 149 after all.
"Iíve never, ever once pulled out of a fight," Bisping told Ariel Helwani on Mondayís episode of The MMA Hour. "[Before] the Ultimate Fighter final I was training with Georges St-Pierre, and I tore my posterior cruciate ligament, my PCL, several days before the fight, and I still went ahead and fought. Iíve done training camps with one hand. Iíve constantly fought injured, because thatís part of the game. Thatís the way that it goes."
But now, thanks to a torn meniscus and two "loose bodies" floating around in his knee, Bisping couldnít complete a normal run without having his knee collapse underneath him. A doctor told him heíd need surgery that would sideline him for at least four weeks, which meant heíd have to forego a paycheck and a chance to move himself closer to a middleweight title shot. It also meant he'd have to make that call.
"It was horrible," Bisping said. "I was constantly second-guessing myself. Fortunately, Iíve got a good manager, Audie [Attar] from Paradigm Sports Management, and Iíve got a good team of people around me giving me good advice. Theyíre not interested in me fighting just to take a percentage, theyíre interested in whatís good for me. Because I was going to take the fight."
Now Bisping has a surgery scheduled for Wednesday, and a few weeks of recovery to look forward to once thatís over. What the UFC middleweight division will look like by the time heís ready to come back, thatís a question no one can answer just yet.
For starters, thereís recent signee Hector Lombard, who called out Bisping via Twitter last week, and who may earn himself a title shot if he can notch a win over Boetsch when he replaces Bisping at UFC 149 in Calgary. Upon hearing that news, Bisping said, he was "massively pissed off," but admitted that he didnít know much about Lombardís actual skills.
"Iíll be honest, Iíve never seen the guy fight. Iíve never seen the guy fight once, because Iíve never seen Bellator. I donít watch it, no interest. By all accounts heís an aggressive fighter and he knocks people out and all the rest of it, but Iíve never seen him fight. He could be the best thing since sliced bread. I donít know. What I do know is heís never had a fight in the UFC, so why the [expletive] is he getting a title shot?"
Of course, heís not. At least not yet. But then, neither is Bisping, thanks to his recent decision loss to Chael Sonnen. And while the Brit said he thinks he deserves a title shot, since "apart from a couple bogus decisions, Iíve won every fight since the Dan Henderson fight," he understands why he hasnít been offered one yet.
"I understand the UFCís decision," said Bisping. "The reason I havenít had a title shot is because of me."
If Sonnen prevails in his title fight with Anderson Silva -- a big if, according to Bisping -- heíd love a rematch of their closely contested bout, this time with a UFC belt on the line. In the meantime, heíll have to suffer through the indignity of being another victim of the UFCís injury bug. Some might think that the UFCís health insurance has made fighters too quick to pull out of fights, but as Bisping explained: "This is how I make money. Sitting on the sideline, having surgery, thinking on this and that, isnít going to cut it. It isnít going to pay the bills. It isnít going to secure my familyís future."
As for UFC president Dana Whiteís assertion that fighters are bringing these injuries on themselves with over-training? Bisping doesnít necessarily disagree, he said, but he also doesnít think there are many other options available to fighters at the highest level of the sport.
"Maybe we do go too hard, but thatís the way youíve got to train to get ready for a fight. Youíve got to train the way you fight. If you donít train the way you fight, when you fight youíre going to be shocked."
Then again, if you arenít healthy enough to even make it into the cage, youíre going to be poor. And neither is a particularly attractive option.