Fans wanted to see former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping lay down his gloves and retire in the Octagon, preferably after one last fight in the U.K. But for Bisping, spending quality time with his family and allowing his body to heal from the fourteen years of wear and tear inside the cage meant that the only option was to retire without a traditional send-off.
‘The Count’ said he had made the decision to retire well before he made things official last month.
“I was retired, but I just hadn’t made it formal yet,” Bisping told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s Edition of The MMA Hour, per MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti.
After Vitor Belfort detached Bisping’s retina in 2013 and, more recently, Kelvin Gastelum caused a vitreous detachment to his left his eye at UFC Fight Night 122, Bisping’s friends and family had pleaded with the Brit to retire.
Bisping says things really hit home when he watched the film Journeyman on a plane, having come to the startling realization that his MMA career has seriously jeopardized his health, having suffered brutal knockouts and sustained dangerous injuries to both eyes.
“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,” he 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.”
Bisping has also been suffering with an injured knee and the treatment doesn’t seem to be helping. Having spent so much time competing in MMA and kickboxing and accumulating so many injuries, the British fan favorite says it would have been be foolish to accept another fight.
“My knee still gives me problems,” he continued 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.”
Bisping retired with a professional record of 30-9 and is most known for his resilience and never-quit attitude. His most notable performance was at UFC 199, where he knocked out Luke Rockhold in the first round to become the first British champion in UFC history. It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Bisping over the years, and the MMA veteran is sure to find his name etched into the UFC Hall of Fame in the coming years.