Bisping Opens Up On His Eye Injury, Adesanya vs Jones And Rockhold
UFC Hall of Famer, Michael Bisping had a truly incredible career, with an amazing story that has humble beginnings, times when it all looked like it’s over, and a major plot twist at the end. After being doubted for years and years, he captured the UFC middleweight belt, with an impairment, that barely anybody knew the seriousness of, including Dana White.
Bisping suffered a retinal detachment in his eye after a head kick from Vitor Belfort in 2013, and as a consequence, he currently wears a prosthetic one.
“It certainly impacted my fight career,” he began. “My depth perception was pretty much nonexistent. So, people always say, ‘How did you fight with pretty much one eye?’ And I always say the same answer: With great difficulty. And it was very difficult. … In hindsight, I guess it was a blessing in disguise, because in 2013 I got all these troubles, and this is where it all started to happen, and then I knew I was on borrowed time.
“So, that gave me the mindset that I had to create a living, essentially, outside the octagon, because I was just all-in on fighting, and I was like, well, at any time I might get my license pulled away from fighting, so I’ve got to start opening doors. I started working on being an analyst, being a commentator, doing my podcast, really trying to ramp up my acting career, and just whatever business endeavors I could find myself or get involved with outside of the octagon. So it wasn’t ideal, and I wish I had two fully functioning eyes, but as I say, every cloud has a silver lining.”
Bisping was quite worried that the doctors might not let him step into the Octagon again because of his eye problems. Although he had a few risky moments during the check-ups, it never happened. After he took the UFC middleweight title from Luke Rockhold in June 2016 at UFC 199, he defended it once, against Dan Henderson. Before then lost it to Georges St-Pierre in November 2017 at UFC 217. Then just three weeks later, he took a fight with Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Shanghai, Anderson Silva failed a USADA test.
“I fight Georges St-Pierre, I lose that fight, and he knew I was blind in one eye – he targeted it,” Bisping said. “Then, I fly to Shanghai, couple of weeks later I fight Kelvin Gastelum, I get cracked, I think I’ve had a good run and that was that.
“And then we go to an after-party afterward, and I’m sitting there in this club, and every time I look this way, I get a flash of light. I was like, what was that? So I look again, another flash of light. And every time I look to the left, I would get a flash of light. And I started panicking because I’m thinking, holy s***, I don’t believe this, I’ve got a detached retina in my good eye. And I started getting emotional, in a night club. I’ve had a couple of drinks, but I’m like, f***, I’m thinking I’m gonna go blind.
“It’s a long flight back to [Los Angeles}, and I wake up halfway through and I look to my left, and there’s that flashing light. Holy s***, I’ve forgotten all about that. So when I land, I call my eye doctor straight away, and he’s like, ‘Yeah, you need to go see someone.’ I go in there — and whenever I’m uncomfortable, I always use humour as kind of like a mask — and I went in and I see this doctor and I say, ‘Listen, doc, I think I’ve got a detached retina in my good eye.’ And he said, ‘Alright, well, let’s take a look, I’m gonna put some drops in you’re not gonna be able to see for a while.’ And I make a joke, I say, ‘Oh well, I guess I better get used to this view, ey?’ And he says, ‘Calm down, we’re not there just yet.’ And I was like, ‘We’re not f***ing there just yet? Jesus Christ.’ I was freaking out. And anyway, turns out I had a vitreous detachment.”
And with that, Michael Bisping decided to call it a day on his illustrious career.
“So anyway, I was like, well, that’s it, the game is up – I don’t want to go blind,” Bisping said.
Now when he is retired from active competition, Bisping is enjoying life as a professional analyst, commentator, and runs his own podcast, so he can look at his former weight division from the outside.
Israel Adesanya now runs supreme in the UFC middleweight division, and Bisping is a big fan (as transcribed by BJPenn.com)
“Izzy’s outstanding,” Bisping proclaimed. “He’s great, undefeated, which is very marketable. He looks good, he talks good, he fights good. The guy’s a superstar. He’s got all the qualities that the UFC are looking for in a superstar, and he fights great.
“Okay, the last fight against Yoel, nobody wants to re-watch that one again, but that’s the way it goes. But listen, you can’t deny it was a s***ty fight. Doesn’t mean he’s a shit fighter, cause he’s not a s*** fighter, he’s outstanding, he’s the world champion for a reason. But, you know, now and again that’s just stylistically sometimes happens. Yoel’s a serious knockout artist, he has a lot of power and obviously has the wrestling pedigree. So, you’ve got to be careful. And it takes two to tango. So, they were both as bad as each other. It was a shitty fight, it is what it is. He got the decision, forget about that, that’s in the past, that’s all history. But no, he’s outstanding, he’s gonna have a bright future. He’s still young.”
Adesanya is scheduled to defend his 185lbs title against Paulo Costa next. And while ‘The Last Stylebender’ and ‘The Eraser’ have been going back and forth on social media in recent month, Izzy still finds time to trade blows with the UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones.
“I like what he’s doing with Jon Jones,” Bisping said. “I don’t know if that fight will ever happen. It probably won’t. Not anytime soon. I think Jon’s talking about going up to heavyweight, so obviously that would put a barrier between them. But I like it. I certainly liked seeing Israel talk s*** about Jon Jones. It is funny. I just sit there in the morning eating my cornflakes and get a little chuckle out of it. So, yeah, no, he’s great, he’s great. I’m a big fan.”
And Bisping gives Adesanya a pretty good chances against one of the greatest to ever do it.
“Listen, on the feet they’d match up pretty well,” he said. “I can’t see why Israel wouldn’t have at least an equal footing or potentially an advantage. Jones isn’t… I mean, we saw in his last few fights he’s not invincible, he’s not superhuman, he is beatable. Everybody’s beatable, trust me. And Jon, the longer he does it, the longer he goes, it’s kind of a game of odds. At some point someone’s going to beat him, and it seems to be happening more and more. I mean, the fight against Dominick Reyes — and I’m not trying to dump on Jon Jones — I feel that Reyes won that fight. The one before, Thiago Santos, that was a close fight, and Thiago Santos had a bloody blown ACL from round one. The fight before that, Anthony Smith.
“Jon isn’t unbeatable, and Adesanya is also undefeated. They’re both pretty undefeated in my eyes. It’s a great fight. I’d love to see it one day, but I’m not sure I would ever see Israel at heavyweight. That’s why I kind of laughed there, cause he’s certainly very tall, but he’s a light middleweight at the end of the day. So, at heavyweight, he’s gonna have a big disadvantage there.”
When he says that everybody is beatable, Bisping truly speaks from experience. Going into his second fight with Luke Rockhold on short notice at UFC 199, the Brit was a huge underdog, yet he scored a first round knockout and left the Octagon as the UFC champion.
Going into the fight, there was a huge amount of bad blood between the two. However, Bisping says he has no ill will towards Rockhold (as transcribed by The Mac Life).
“Me and Luke Rockhold, I mean, listen, the guy’s still a bit of a tit, isn’t he?” he said. “Let’s be honest. But I will say this, Daniel Cormier, ‘DC’ is a great guy, I’ve got a tonne of respect for that man, and he’s like best mates with Luke Rockhold. So, I guess Luke Rockhold can’t be that bad, otherwise ‘DC’ couldn’t be friends with him. So, I think if we met under different circumstances, who knows, we could be going surfing together. Not that I surf, but you know what I’m saying.
“Yeah, I don’t give a s***, mate,” Bisping continued. “I don’t hold grudges against anybody. Well, there’s a couple of people back in England that if I get my hands on then I’ll wring their necks, but other than that, there’s nobody professional. Listen, those days are behind me now. I have no ill will. I wish everybody the best. I don’t have any grudges, and yeah, I’d happily share a beer with Rockhold.”