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Morning Report: Michael Bisping considering a fight offer for UFC London, says family and friends want him to retire instead

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Michael Bisping vs Georges St-Pierre Press Conference Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

After Michael Bisping lost his middleweight title to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217, he had a plan for how he would exit the sport: a retirement fight to headline the UFC’s return to London in March. Then, Anderson Silva was removed from the main event of UFC Shanghai due to a failed USADA test, and the UFC needed someone to step in and main event the card against Kelvin Gastelum. Though it was only 21 days after he had lost to St-Pierre, Bisping jumped in to save the card, saying that this fight was an opportunity to earn another payday and that it wouldn’t affect his retirement at UFC London. Now it’s possible that was just wishful thinking.

Speaking on his Believe You Me podcast yesterday, Bisping said that he has been offered a fight by the UFC but that he is debating on whether to take it because his family and friends are urging him to retire from MMA.

“There’s a fight in the works for myself, and I’ve got until the end of the day to tell the UFC whether or not I’m taking it,” explained Bisping. “There’s an offer that’s been made to me, and all fairness to the UFC, I’ve been kind of taking my time to give them an answer so I’ve got until the end of the day to give them an answer.

“I’m just debating whether or not I take the fight. For me, whether or not those people can see, I have a bad eye. I have a bad eye and my wife doesn’t want me to continue fighting, and my manager doesn’t want me to continue fighting. I see out of that eye but not as well as I used to, and I’m still a young man so it’s kind of the reason I may hang the gloves up. My wife and manager and friends and people close to me say, ‘Mike, what do you want to do that for? You’ve done it. You’ve had the belt.’ I’ve done it. I’ve done what I set out to achieve.

“I kind of want to go do one last fight in England and they’re like, ‘So what? Five years from now or a year from now, people are gonna forget about all that and you can injure yourself even more.’ but you can injure yourself in any fight, whether or not you’re at 100% health or not. So that’s what we’re up to and I don’t know.”

Bisping has had one of the most decorated careers in MMA history. In 2006, Bisping won The Ultimate Fighter Season 3 and a decade later he hoisted UFC gold when he knocked out Luke Rockhold in one of the biggest upsets in MMA history at UFC 199. Even more impressive is that his late career success came despite having serious vision problems in his right eye, an injury Bisping has said came from his head kick knockout loss to Vitor Belfort. With Bisping having been stopped brutally in both of his last two fights, it makes sense that his family and friends would caution against one last go around, but Bisping notes he has some real incentives to ignore those warnings.

“There’s the payday,” said Bisping. “I’ve got some lawsuit bullsh*t that’s still going on. I don’t know if you’re aware of this but lawyers are very expensive. Also, one doesn’t want to go out on my last fight, that being the lasting impression on my MMA career. Also, I kind of feel that I owe it to the U.K. fans because they were so supportive throughout my career. I always envisioned in my mind having that retirement fight in London and there it is on a plate. I just need to take it but everyone around me is telling me not to.”

Bisping’s legacy is set regardless of whether he fights one more time but retiring off of a victory in front of his hometown crowd would be the perfect swansong to a Hall of Fame career. Furthermore, though Bisping remained silent on who the opponent would be, the former champ said he likes the fight for his retirement bout, if he decided not to retire.

“I like the fight,” said Bisping. “It’s not a case of the time or the opponent or anything like that. It’s either am I going to continue fighting or am I not? I promised my wife a long time ago that I was done fighting, promised a ton of people, but I still seem to be slogging on and doing it.

“Maybe we’ll have an announcement tomorrow, maybe we won’t.”


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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

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Jack Marshman (22-7) vs. Elizeu Zaleski (18-5); UFC London, March 17.


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FINAL THOUGHTS

That’s all for today, folks. Take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

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