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Michael Bisping ordered to pay ex-manager over $400,000 after contentious court case

Michael Bisping was ordered to pay his ex-manager a six-figure sum in unpaid commissions.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Michael Bisping’s already rough winter has gotten a little rougher.

Bisping, the former UFC middleweight champion, was ordered Friday to pay his ex-manager Anthony McGann over $400,000 of unpaid commissions dating from 2005 to 2011, according to a report by the Manchester Evening News. The verdict came after an 11-day trial that saw Bisping and McGann reportedly engage in a “scuffle” inside of a court waiting area during the proceedings.

The case’s dispute stemmed from a contract Bisping signed in 2005 prior to his successful run on The Ultimate Fighter 3. Judge Richard Salter ruled that Bisping owed McGann — the founder of the Wolfslair MMA Academy gym that Bisping once represented — more than £320,000 in unpaid commissions, or approximately $426,284, earned over the six-year period that covered Bisping’s early UFC career.

Salter also denounced the behavior of the two former friends during the trial.

The judge stated that Bisping’s actions had “fallen well short of the standard that the court is entitled to expect,” criticizing Bisping for “tailoring and trimming his evidence to suit his case,” and calling portions of the fighter’s evidence “incredible and untrue.”

Regarding McGann, Salter stated that the ex-manager “greatly exaggerated” his claim against Bisping by presenting evidence that was “plainly untruthful” and “recent fabrications.” Salter alleged that McGann’s claims “varied between the aggressive and the obsequious” and included “false documents and false evidence.”

In addition, Salter noted that, “Mr. Bisping was also a knowing participant with Mr. McGann in the scheme to defraud the Australian tax authorities by overstating Mr. Bisping’s expenses in 2010 and 2011.”

Neither Bisping nor McGann denied accounts from security staff that a “scuffle” took place in a waiting area outside the courtroom, according to the report. The nature of the altercation was immediately unclear.

With the judgement passed, the next step in the trial will see Salter determine which party will be on the hook for the “enormous” legal costs of the proceedings. Salter noted that it would be “an affront to justice” to order Bisping to foot the bill for McGann’s legal team, bills which were “almost certainly out of all proportion to the sums at stake.” A timetable for that decision was not immediately made available.

Bisping, 38, suffered back-to-back losses in the month of November, first losing his UFC middleweight title via third-round rear-naked choke to Georges St-Pierre on Nov. 4 at UFC 217, then sustaining a brutal first-round knockout loss to Kelvin Gastelum on Nov. 25 at UFC Shanghai.

Prior to the Gastelum fight, “The Count” — who holds the record for the most fights in UFC history — expressed an interest in competing on March 17 for his retirement fight in London, England.

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