Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping announced this week that he is retiring from mixed martial arts, citing vision problems, and how he feels like he’s achieved everything he could possibly achieve in his fighting career.
On the most recent episode of his podcast, Believe You Me, the 39-year-old Bisping talked about the reasons why he decided to call it a career six months after he lost his middleweight championship to Georges St-Pierre. While he cited vision problems as the main reason why he chose to retire, he also stressed that he’s “done everything [he] set out to achieve” in the UFC, including winning a title belt and racking up “tons” of wins, as quoted by MMA Junkie.
“What’s the point of flogging a dead horse? Not that I’m a dead horse, but what’s the point? … I’ve used my platform to open other doors. You’ve got to know when to walk away. I’m almost 40-years-old – the time is now.”
As noted by MMA Junkie, it wasn’t too long ago when Michael Bisping’s retirement was still an uncertainty, as he was deciding on whom he should face in what would have been his final match. Bisping’s options included Nick Diaz, who had recently completed a USADA suspension for repeatedly failing to report his whereabouts, and a third fight against another ex-UFC middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold. Both options, however, became implausible in recent weeks, as Diaz was arrested and charged with domestic battery, and Rockhold suffered a leg injury that is expected to prevent him from facing Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 227 in August, and keep him out of action until late this year, according to MMA Fighting.
According to ESPN, Bisping had also considered another option for a final match — a fight against Rashad Evans that would have marked their first encounter since UFC 78 in 2007, where Evans dealt Bisping his first-ever loss in mixed martial arts. In Bisping’s words, it was “probably a good thing” that those plans didn’t push forward.
On his podcast, Michael Bisping didn’t say if his decision to retire was motivated by Diaz’s arrest and/or Rockhold’s injury. Instead, he mentioned that he felt that it was time to end his “long journey” in MMA, which includes over 11 years in the UFC, due to vision problems. These include issues with his “good” eye that he claims started after a first-round knockout loss to Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Fight Night 122 in November, just three weeks after “The Count” lost his middleweight title to Georges St-Pierre.
Prior to that, the Manchester, England native had undergone surgery in 2013 after suffering a detached retina, apparently a result of a head kick from Vitor Belfort, who himself had retired earlier this month after getting knocked out by Lyoto Machida at UFC 224.
In 14 years as a mixed martial arts fighter, Michael Bisping compiled a record of 30-9 overall, including 20-9 in the UFC, prior to this week’s retirement announcement. He also has the record for most fights in UFC history with 29, with his 20 wins tied for first place all-time with St-Pierre and Donald Cerrone.