Michael Bisping: A Career Profile Part 2
By James Lee
The Ultimate Fighter to UFC 100
Although recognition came early, financial gains didn’t come instantly. Upon returning home to England, the Bisping family fell on the same hard struggles they had faced before, with money coming short, even for petrol. Although the UFC provided a $10,000 cheque, the real change came after his fight at UFC 66 against Milwaukee’s Eric Schafer. After the fight, Bisping received a discretionary bonus of $50,000 that gave him security and comfort.
Following an important victory over Australian Elvis Sinosic in Manchester, Bisping got the chance to co-headline a fight card in England at UFC 75 against old rival Matt Hamill. Bisping was named victorious via split decision, to which he would even admit himself could have been the opposite result.
With the belt in sight, Bisping moved on to face veteran Rashad Evans in the main event of UFC 78. Controversy arose as Evans secured the split decision, much to Bisping’s anger who felt he won the bout. He didn’t dwell. With his family in mind, another fight was accepted for five months later in Canada.
The accepted fight saw him decide to change his lifestyle and fight at middleweight for the first time. After defeating Charles McCarthy, Bisping looked to face contenders in search of his first UFC gold. Jason Day was next at UFC 85 and after a quick dismantling of him, Bisping took on arguably his toughest test yet in Chris Leben. “The Crippler” had an immense will to continue battling in fights, therefore for Bisping to achieve the decision victory credits his own will, something more noticeable as his career ventured on.
After Leben, a new chapter came in the career of Michael Bisping. With the UFC looking outside of North America for new stars, the first Ultimate Fighter series took place where two countries would square off. With Bisping as a coach, UK vs USA was set for The Ultimate Fighter 10, with Dan Henderson the coach for the USA.
The series was an interesting encounter for “The Count.” Although he had some issues with the US team, the UK team were very successful in the end with three fighters making the finale.
His relationship with Dan Henderson was cordial, but there was clearly a feud from January 2009 when filming began, one which would last until the 8th of October 2016 and maybe will go on forever.
The biggest fight card of 2009 was the venue for the bout between Henderson and Bisping. With Brock Lesnar and Georges St-Pierre on the bill, Bisping was on the grandest stage possible and the worst thing possible occurred.
“And it is all over! Dan Henderson has knocked out Michael Bisping!” The H-bomb had landed. Bisping’s worst nightmare had occurred. A devastating knockout crushed the Englishman. As the American paraded around the octagon, Bisping lay stiff but still, as officials attended to him.
Many thought he was done. The mockery might have broken other men, but his determination allowed the comeback. A comeback which would recognise Bisping as one of the toughest men in the sport’s history.