Once known for his brashness in his younger years, former middleweight champion and UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping has since taken a more level-headed approach, especially when it comes to criticisms. “The Count” has been accused of bias in his commentary by Justin Gaethje, particularly during UFC 286’s main event between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman.
“I thought (Usman) won the fight, but I’m probably as biased as the judges. Certainly not as biased as Michael Bisping. He shouldn’t have been nowhere near a microphone during that fight. It sucks,” Gaethje said during his post-fight scrum.
“It’s not my call (to have him on the broadcast or not). I just thought it was very unprofessional.”
Bisping, who’s been part of the UFC commentary team since 2019, is now responding to “The Highlight.” First, he addressed it briefly when a fan asked him about it on Twitter.
Thanks Doug. I always only call it as I see it. And you have to celebrate the winner, regardless of who it is. Can’t be sad someone didn’t win. Winner in all cases must be celebrated. And I have huge admiration and respect for Usman as a fighter and person. A true gentleman. https://t.co/kOaQoAP2Fn
— michael (@bisping) March 20, 2023
He then spoke about it at length on his YouTube channel (quotes by MMA Junkie).
“Justin’s just being a loyal friend and a loyal teammate. When you’re watching a fight and you want your friend, your teammate to win, the good stuff that they do, in your mind, is emphasized. It is amplified. It is a bigger deal than what it is.
“And the stuff that the opponent does to your friend, you dismiss it. … That’s just the human mind. That’s how we work. When someone that we respect, when someone that’s our friend that we’re supporting, when they’re doing well, we amplify it in our mind.
“When anything bad happens, we play it down.”
Bisiping maintains his belief that Edwards is the rightful winner and completely understood where Gaethje was coming from.
“So Justin firmly believes in his head that Kamaru won that fight. And because I said on the microphone afterwards, ‘Well, Leon clearly won that fight,’ which I thought that he did in a close fight – in a close fight. All the rounds were close.
“Leon didn’t smoke him in any of the rounds, but I thought generally Kamaru might’ve had one or two rounds. Maybe one, maybe two. I’d have to watch it again. But listen, Leon won the fight.
“But all rounds were close, and Justin is just being a good teammate.”
Gaethje also fought in the co-main event, right before Usman and Edwards. He defeated Rafael Fiziev in dominant fashion via decision, marking his ninth performance bonus in the UFC for Fight of the Night.
About the author: Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments. (full bio)
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