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Michael Bisping says he 'made a rookie mistake' during mouthpiece controversy

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Even by mixed martial arts' considerable standards, the closing seconds of the third round between Anderson Silva and Michael Bisping on Feb 27 was wild and chaotic.

First came confusion over Bisping's dislodged mouthpiece during the main event at London's 02 Arena. Then came a wicked Silva flying knee when Bisping wasn't looking. Then Silva began a premature celebration over a knockout that wasn't.

Eventually, order was restored, and Bisping went on to win by unanimous decision in one of the year's most emotional and memorable battles.

After the bout, Bisping wasn't happy about the fact referee Herb Dean didn't call a timeout to let him retrieve his mouthpiece. But now that he's had some time to reflect on things, the veteran middleweight contender takes responsibility for the gaffe which nearly ended his night.

"I looked away," Bisping said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I made a rookie mistake and Anderson pounced."

Bisping, who says he's watched the fight twice, broke down his side of the story.

"I'm not sure if it was a punch or whatever it was, my mouthpiece went flying," Bisping said. "Of course, this was a well-discussed matter. Was I at fault or was the referee at fault. I know there has to be a break in the action, but it's how do you define a break in the action. For my part, I was backing off, Anderson was coming after me. There were no blows being exchanged."

Still, Bisping knows he was the one at fault for taking his eyes off the fight.

"I'm not angry at anybody, I'm not angry at Anderson or the referees," he said. "It was one of those things, I should have known better. I should have known better. I take that one in the chin, or in the eye or in the face or whatever it was."

As for the other half of the equation, Bisping believes Silva knew exactly what he was doing when he went into celebration mode, calling it the equivalent when fighters throw up their arms in victory once a fight goes the distance in an attempt to sway the judges at the last moment.

"Listen, the fight went on," Bisping said. "I was down, I was not out. Herb Dean made a very good call, it took courage for him to make that call Anderson was trying to steal the victory, kind of like at the end of the fight you put his hands up in the air to try to claim victory and influence the judges. Anderson was doing that, he knew what he was doing, he's a seasoned pro. He knew I wasn't out, anyway. I went to the floor. I was talking to Herb Dean, I'm like hey I'm good."

Bisping continued and ultimately had to withstand a furious Silva onslaught in the fifth round before finally securing the biggest victory of his career and the fourth win in his past five fights. As far as Bisping is concerned, all's well that ends well, so there's no need to overthink whether anything should have been handled differently.

"I guess you could sit there an analyze that a little bit, but I prefer to rest on the fact that I won the fight," Bisping said. "There are many what ifs with anything in life. Fact of the matter is, I won the fight, I faced a legend on a fair playing field and I'm one of only two men to do it. That's what I'm thinking about. Of course there was that touchy moment, I had to fight through a lot of adversity I had blood going out of my face everywhere. In many ways, l'm kind of glad that happened, it made the performance that much more gutsy. I'm proud of it."