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On second thought: Michael Bisping’s wise u-turn on fighting Anderson Silva

By Zach Arnold | December 4, 2011

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Click on my mug to see me brag about how I treated Mayhem Miller ‘like a little boy’ ( | Ariel Helwani on Twitter | MMA Nation | Bloody Elbow)

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 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:

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.

Topics: DREAM, Japan, Media, MMA, UFC, WWE, Zach Arnold | 14 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

14 Responses to “On second thought: Michael Bisping’s wise u-turn on fighting Anderson Silva”

  1. Chromium says:

    I don’t blame Ishii one bit for declining the Fedor fight. His chances of re-signing with Zuffa go down precipitously if he loses, which is probable. There’s a good chance he wouldn’t even be paid for it. Meanwhile he’s still developing as a fighter.

    This card definitely looks like it’s missing some panache. My understanding is Megumi Fujii will be on it against a decent European prospect, which is a quality undercard addition, but it just seems odd to not see any HW gaijins on this card.

    • Steve4192 says:

      “There’s a good chance he wouldn’t even be paid for it”

      I suspect that has more to do with it than any concerns over a future Zuffa contract. Ishii doesn’t strike me as that kind of long-term thinker. I think he just demanded his money in advance and when they refused, he pulled a Bob Sapp and told them ‘no money, no fight’.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    Anderson Silva will be 37 by the time he fights next. It’s better to let him get old and then beat the next guy who has the belt.

    The number of people picking Mayhem to win was a joke really. Shows what few sound minds there are in the MMA analysis arena. Sure, everybody can be wrong. And upsets happen. But this was about as sure of a bet as you could make for Bisping.

    I think Bisping vs. Okami/Boetsch would make sense…. But the fight is 2 months off. He could fight the winner of Belfort/Johnson as well.

    • Steve4192 says:

      Sounds like Bisping’s next fight is versus Maia on FOX. That’s a good step up in competition for him and a winnable fight for both guys.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        He can beat Maia. Bisping has a hard time when his opponents are better wrestlers then him. It happened with Henderson as he couldn’t take the fight to the ground and got KO’d. It happened with Matt Hamill (should have lost). It happened with Rashad Evans who just took him down too much.

        I think Bisping can keep the fight on the feet and punish him. I also think that if it goes to the ground he is good enough to not get submitted.

        Well, the UFC is certainly pulling out the big guns for FOX. There might not be a title fight, but they are certainly getting good fights. I’m glad they are treating such a large platform the right way.

  3. frankp316 says:

    Though it hasn’t been announced yet, you can add Megumi Fujii vs Spanish fighter Karla Benitez to the DREAM show. Tony of Sherdog reported this on Thursday. I have posted match video of Benitez on my blog so fans can see what she’s like.

  4. Dave says:

    I don’t know why they are saying Nagashima vs. Kikuno will be Lightweight. As of the IGF show he was pushing 90kg (about 198lbs) and looked chunky. The last time he fought was in the summer for K-1 MAX and he fought at 78kg (172lbs) and that was with him actually cutting.

  5. 45 Huddle says:

    According to HH on The underground, Strikeforce has been resigned for 2 years by Showtime. They cut the money Zuffa will get in half per show.

    This will keep female MMA in the spotlight (I assume). It will also act as direct competition to Bellator for signing new and developing talent.

    Should be interesting. I am hoping for a monthly show…. Perhaps 3 to 4 female divisions being used fuly…. Or as much as possible with the talent that is out there. And then signing some good prospects and giving them the time to grow before pushing them into the pressure cooker that the UFC has become.

  6. RST says:

    I agree that Bisping is decent, but is not on the same level as anderson silva.

    So that leaves me still wondering, like I have been for a few years, were SHOULD we expect anderson silva to put forth some effort for his money?!

  7. edub says:


    -Bisping is still so easily hit by the overhand right that it’s laughable. Mayhem’s stand up is deplorable, yet he landed that shot at will in the first round. Too bad he has absolutely no power.

    Mayhem just might not be a UFC level fighter, hopefully he gets somebody a little lower on the latter for his next fight.

    I gotta also say I’m always a fan of respectful reactions from fighters after the match is over. Good for both Miller and Bisping.

    -I’m starting to cringe everytime I hear Herb Dean is the best referreee in the world. He is entirely too error prone (although it is usually on the side of safety) for my tastes, and he has single handedly ruined multiple events just this year. Dillashaw was still searching for a single leg when he was stopped against Dodson. John ALberts last 6 punches against Dustin Pague all landed on the arm before that stoppage. I understand the need for protecting fighters, but as a ref you should also be cognizant of the opportunity you are taking away from the fighter you are “helping” by erroring on the side of caution.

    If Herb Dean was the official for Dan Henderson-Shogun, then the fight would have been stopped in the third round. No question in my mind.

    -I like Dodson at 135. His speed and takedown defense give him a big edge there compared to 125 (where it seems like his power is diminished a little bit). Dillashaw still has a bright future, but he has to realize that if he is fighting a striker on the level of a Dodson then he needs to force the wrestling earlier in a fight. Bermudez and Brandao will also be welcome additions to the 145lb division. I actually expect Dennis to be the better prospect down the road.

    • mr. roadblock says:

      Josh Rosenthal is a much better ref than Herb Dean. Herb is probably second best.

      Rosenthal makes very intelligent stoppages. I think any other ref would have screwed up Shogun/Hendo and either have stopped it early in favor of Hendo or late in favor of Shogun.

    • RST says:

      I think Miragliotta pretty good.

      I dont recall him pulling any bad ones (he may have), but I do recall him making some pretty good calls a few times.

      I’ve seen him have to pull a guy out when he’s getting beat down but the guy is still hyped up and wants more, so Dan will hold them back for a bit afterwards and talk them down which is cool.

      And he’s big enough that he can get in there and pull guys apart if he has to.
      Or give slider a shove.

      Thats another reason I dont get the chick ref deal.
      Seems like a safety hazard IMO, like a chick fireman.

  8. Coconut says:

    My friend sent me a note about the Pancrase year end show. Said it was the saddest display he had seen in Japan in over 13 years of living there. Just when you think Japan can’t sink any lower, it does.


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