By Zach Arnold | December 4, 2011
ARIEL HELWANI: “Do you think after a dominant performance like this you will start to finally get the respect that you think you deserve?”
MICHAEL BISPING: “I mean, I hope so, I’d like to. Everyone wants respect. Already people are on Twitter saying Jason gassed, etc. I’m sure Jason didn’t gas, I’m sure he was in great shape. But, you know, I hope so, I mean, I go out there. I try my best to entertain, you know, I try my best to put on exciting fights. That’s what I want to do. I cherish my position in the UFC and I feel like the luckiest man in the world doing what I do for a living and, you know, I want to be successful at it and I want people to enjoy what I do. Yeah, I wanted to be appreciated. Hopefully [after] performances like that, people will start to come around.”
ARIEL HELWANI: “What’d you think of the stoppage?”
MICHAEL BISPING: “I thought it was just. Yeah, you know, I mean I was hitting him with a lot of shots. In the third, I was in his guard and I was punching him, you know, hitting him with a lot of shots and Mazzagatti said, you know, you’ve got to fight back, so I fought back. Keep this pace going. My cardio was good but because of the amount of shots I was throwing I was starting to get a little tired but I just kept punching and punching. He kind of squirmed and changed position. In the referee’s mind, I lost that momentum, you know what I mean? Then I managed to pass his guard, get side control, and he turtled up and I just thought, keep this up, keep this up, he’s got to stop it and fortunately he did.”
ARIEL HELWANI: “After some of the antics at the weight-ins [on Friday], flipping off the crowd, telling them to F off, I thought it was clear, at least to me, that Michael Bisping is running with this ‘bad boy’ image, the one that we talked about a couple of days ago, but then with your post-fight interview talking about the working class family, talking about your family, you had the crowd now turning and clapping for you. So, which is it going to be, the good guy or the bad guy?”
MICHAEL BISPING: “Listen, as I said I’m an emotional guy, you know, I mean I try to be a good guy, I want to be a good guy but I have these moments. I mean, I was annoyed at the weigh-in, I was .2 of a pound over, pardon the expression but as my boxing coach says you can fart 0.2 out so I almost there but it’s unprofessional. But, more than anything, I was annoyed at myself and then the crowd was booing. Then Joe Rogan said, c’mon, come and give him some love and I thought, no, I’m not in the mood for that and… you know, I mean, I meant everything that I said at the weigh-in. Thank you guys for coming out and showing energy. I realize there’s got be a good guy and a bad guy and they’re going to cheer for someone. Obviously, I’m not local as we all know, so I have no problem with it. As long as people tune in and enjoy what they see, I’m happy.”
His decision to not face Anderson Silva will prove to be a wise one. As for potential opponents… Chael Sonnen and Mark Munoz are married together in a program for the January 28th Fox show in Chicago. Also on the Chicago show is Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis. Feels like two fights that could go the distance. Yushin Okami, who has Tim Boetsch in his sights on the UFC Japan card, is on his way to Portland now to train with Sonnen. It doesn’t leave too many options, though apparently Dana White already has someone in mind. Demian Maia? Is he a big enough name for Bisping at this point given that he wants to fight people who will get him closer to a title match?
As for last night’s Ultimate Fighter finale show from The Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas… that crowd always acts the same no matter what kind of UFC show they get. It was a little bit more boisterous than usual but that’s not really saying a lot. John Dodson, Diego Brandao, and Dennis Bermudez really put on a fun showing last night. Dodson, incredibly, was nearly a 2-to-1 underdog and some people got very fortunate in betting on him. Bermudez was nearly a 3-to-1 dog and damn near pulled off the upset. He paid the price with his arm getting mangled by that beautiful submission from Diego. By far the best pairing of TUF finale fights that we’ve seen on Spike in ages. Of course, I wonder how many people actually saw the show given the limited amount of advertising plus the insane college football schedule in the States (OK/OSU on ABC, Clemson/VA. Tech on ESPN, BYU/Hawaii on ESPN2, Wisconsin/Michigan State on Fox).
As for the performance by Michael Bisping… I wasn’t surprised, although I’m not as gleeful as Dana White was after seeing Mayhem get his ass kicked. Actually, there were a couple of people who were more gleeful than Dana over that fight result — Luca Fury and Mike Fagan, who were practically salivating at the fact that the moneyline on Bisping kept going down to -170. The majority of cash this week went on Mayhem. Quite remarkable, actually, given that he started off as a 2-to-1 underdog.
If you didn’t already see the news, head over to LiverKick.com and read what Dave Walsh has to say about Jerome Le Banner busting up Josh Barnett on Friday at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo. Bloody. Will Barnett’s fight with Daniel Cormier actually happen?
The updated card for the DREAM/Inoki NYE event at Saitama Super Arena:
- DREAM Bantamweight tournament reserve fight: Hideo Tokoro vs. Yusup Saadulaev
- DREAM Bantamweight tournament: Bibiano Fernandes vs. Rodolfo Marques Diniz
- DREAM Bantamweight tournament: Masakazu Imanari vs. Antonio Banuelos
- Featherweights: Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Kazuyuki Miyata
- Welterweights: Hayato ‘Mach’ Sakurai vs. Ryo Chonan
- Lightweights (Mixed rules fight): Yuichiro ‘Jienotsu’ Nagashima vs. Katsunori Kikuno
- DREAM Bantamweight tournament finals: Fernandes/Diniz winner vs. Imanari/Banuelos winner
- DREAM Featherweight title match: Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Lion Takeshi
- DREAM Lightweight title match: Shinya Aoki vs. Satoru Kitaoka
The booking of DREAM has always confounded me. A lot appeals to the hardcores, some of it tries to appeal to the masses but ultimately fails… the general consensus, if you talk to someone like Mike Hackler, is that this will be a red hot show. Fedor vs. Satoshi Ishii was the original plan as the main event but Ishii declined the fight. Who knows what the reason is and it’s legitimate or not. Fedor supposedly will fight on the card but the opponent is not yet determined.
Last year’s Dynamite show, which I lambasted as K-1’s public execution (and it proved to be so), drew exactly what you expect for a card with no major television money supporting the event and a lack of ability to attract any kind of serious sponsorship.
If DREAM can pull off 15,000 legitimately paid for this show, I would be impressed. You can never tell how much is paid versus papered these days, but we’ll probably have a good barometer of how things stand the week before the show. My gut feeling is that this card, without a major fight added to it, reeks of 9,000 paid and the rest papered. The UFC Japan card, which I’ve said more than enough about, is better in terms of name value than this DREAM event… and that is saying a lot right now. I still have the over/under on the UFC Japan pegged at 10,000, given that it’s happening so damn early. If the start time was a normal evening start, I would upgrade the over/under to 13,000-16,000 which is Yokohama Arena level.
Speaking of Yokohama Arena, WWE basically ran an identical house show card for two straight nights this week and drew 6,200 and 7,000 paid. Yoshihiro Takayama, Kensuke Sasaki, and a few other Japanese wrestlers were there at the show backstage. Even in the early ’00’s, those attendance figures would be ruthlessly mocked in Japan. Now? It’s almost the norm. A lot of people were aghast at that 6,200 number but, frankly, I thought given the horrible booking and the short amount of time to promote (around three months), it was appallingly OK. But, yeah, drawing 6,200 in a 16,000 seat building is never a great thing. It’s better than, say, 4,800 at Nippon Budokan, but that’s not saying a whole lot.