Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping has agreed to step in for fellow former titleholder Anderson Silva at UFC Fight Night 122.
Silva was slated to meet Kelvin Gastelum in the event’s headlining bout on Nov. 25 in Shanghai, China. He was removed from the bout earlier this week when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency notified the UFC that Silva had been flagged for a potential anti-doping policy violation for the second time.
Silva was first flagged in relation to his UFC 183 headlining bout with Nick Diaz in January of 2015. He was suspended for one year, fined upwards of $380,000, and his victory over Diaz was changed to a no contest result.
With Silva out of the picture, the UFC scrambled to keep its main event intact for a UFC Fight Pass card that is focused heavily on regional Chinese talent.
Only a week removed from his submission loss to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217, Bisping has verbally agreed to step in and face Gastelum at UFC Fight Night 122. Sources close to the bout confirmed the news to MMAWeekly.com’s Damon Martin.
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The New York State Athletic Commission issued Bisping a 30-day medical suspension following the loss to St-Pierre. The bout in China would only be 21 days removed from that Madison Square Garden fight, after which Bisping said that he had suffered no damage. The event in China would be self-regulated by the UFC and could likely avert the suspension if Bisping is first cleared by a doctor and deemed healthy enough to safely compete.
UFC officials have yet to comment on the development.
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