UFC middleweight Michael Bisping is getting ready to face Thales Leites in the main event of July's UFC Fight Night 72 in Glasgow, Scotland, but had a few moments to weigh in on the controversy surrounding former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva's alleged performance-enhancing drug (PED) use.
After UFC 183 in January when Silva defeated Nick Diaz via unanimous decision, it was revealed 'The Spider' had failed both pre- and post-fight tests with resulting indicating he had used anabolic steroids. Bisping, who has faced a number of fighters later caught for using PEDs, explained his position on Silva and PED use, generally.
"Anderson was, for a long time, a hero of mine even though we were in the same weight class and I wanted to fight him for so long. You could not admire and respect what he did inside the Octagon.
"Of course, the things that he did still stand, but there has been a bit of a cloud lately. It was a shame to hear about the test results," Bisping continued. "It's just disappointing. Would I still like to fight the guy? Of course, I would. I'd love to get in there in the Octagon with him, but he has fallen a little bit recently. It's not something that's the burning issue that it once was."
For the time being, Bisping has his hands full with Leites. He's even suggested if he gets past the Brazilian, a bout with either Luke Rockhold or Ronaldo Souza should be next. But he's also faced fighters like Cung Le, Vitor Belfort, Chris Leben, Chael Sonnen - fighters who eventually proved to be using PEDs in some capacity. That's given 'The Count' perspective on the issue.
"I've fought many guys over the years that have used performance-enhancing drugs, so I obviously I have a very dim view of that," Bisping explained. "I've always been a hard-working, honest-working guy. The only thing I take is protein shakes and that's it. Blood, sweat and tears go into my preparation. I've had injuries in the past from guys using performance-enhancing drugs.
"In this sport, there's no place for that. We're not trying to put balls in hoops. It's a fight, so you shouldn't be going out there and doing those things. Anybody that does that, I immediately lose a lot of respect for."
Bisping may have lost respect for many of his previous opponents or PED users, generally, but Silva is a special case. For Bisping, Silva's achievements can't be overlooked. Until the Nevada Athletic Commission formally hands out a punishment, he's willing to hold off on judgement.
"The sentence hasn't been delivered," Bisping said of Silva's situation. "We're yet to see what happens, so I reserve my judgement until the athletic commission's made their decision."