Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping was recently offered the chance to avenge his defeat at the hands of Vitor Belfort in front of a home crowd at UFC London in March. Bisping, however, declined the opportunity to retire against the Brazilian, who would also be fighting the last bout of his UFC career.
Bisping recently discussed the proposal the UFC to fight Belfort made on his Believe You Me podcast, and explained why it is an absolute no-no:
“I’m not fighting Vitor Belfort in London,” said Bisping. “I’m not fighting Vitor Belfort in London. I am not fighting Vitor Belfort in London. 100 percent, I’m not fighting him. Zero percent chance.
“I may or may not have one more fight,” explained Bisping. “So here’s the thing. I don’t like Vitor Belfort. People looking at this video are probably saying, ‘Look at his eye, he’s a f**king mess.’ It is part of the reason why I never wanted to do a video podcast before because my eye is a mess and it was Vitor Belfort that did it and he was roided out of his mind. He’s a known drug cheat. I don’t like the guy. I find him to be a hypocrite. It’s his last fight and he’s probably going to juice like crazy again anyway because who gives a f**k. ‘Oooh, I failed. So what? Retired. Done. Gone.’”
Bisping wants his swansong to be one which will leave fans with fond memories of him. The rivalry between himself and Belfort would surely be counterproductive to achieving that goal, according to “The Count”:
“And not just that,” said Bisping. “For me, the main reason is I don’t like the guy and I just don’t want to be associated with him and I know if we were to fight, it would just turn into a typical Michael Bisping performance of trash talk and all this type of thing at the weigh-ins and the press conference and all that stuff. I’d be talking s**t and I don’t want to do that.
“This is my – if I fight in London – it’s my last ever fight, and I want to handle myself the way I handled myself the majority of the time. I don’t want it to be some bitter rivalry with a guy that has caused me lasting disfigurement and that I’m emotionally charged up against. I’d rather go out there, put my best foot forward, enjoy the moment, fight somebody that I respect, fight somebody that’s gonna be a challenge but I have a lot of respect for and do it in a classy way.
“I don’t want to be remembered for being a d**k, and I feel that Vitor Belfort would bring out that side of my personality. It’s my last ever fight, I want to go there and enjoy it. I want to embrace the moment, I want to live in the moment, I want to be respectful towards my opponent, basically thank all the fans of Great Britain for always supporting my career. . . not lunging and arguing and swearing and going at the guy and acting regrettably because years later I would look back and I would regret that.”
Belfort had his own say following Bisping’s reluctance to fight him. The Brazilian took to his official Instagram account to hit out at the Brit’s ‘fear’ of fighting him:
“What a shame Michael Bisping. The UFC just informed me that you have declined the fight. I understand you are scared. The images above pretty much explain it all. So stop pretending that you are tough and just admit that you are afraid. And I thought you were man enough to step up in the octagon with me again, my mistake. Unfortunately, it looks like we will not be delivering to the fans the fight they want to see. Happy retirement, you must be feeling amazing leaving the sport through the back door. To be a legend is not for everyone.”
Dana White recently confirmed that Belfort had, in fact, turned down two opponents following Uriah Hall’s medical issues forcing him off the UFC St. Louis card:
“This thing went down, we worked quickly and we got Vitor a fight,” White said. “He could have fought tonight, he chose not to. We got him a fight in Boston. He chose not to fight in Boston. He chose not to fight then. I don’t know who the opponents were, but they told him we got him two fights.”