Where Did Michael Bisping Go?

The world will be watching on August 23 to see if Michael Bisping is truly back.
The world will be watching on August 23 to see if Michael Bisping is truly back.

By Lance LeVan

For the past 10 years or so…Michael “The Count” Bisping has been at the top of the light heavyweight and the middleweight divisions of the UFC. He is one of the premier “trash-talkers” in the sport today. I equate him to the same level of trash talking that Muhammad Ali did. He is a black belt at getting in a fighter’s head and under their skin. And for the most part, he has the skill set to back up the talk. So far in his career, he has amassed a 24-6 record in his professional career, most of which are in the UFC octagon. All of a sudden…in 2013, he disappeared. The general public never heard from him again. It’s like he vanished.

In April 2013, at UFC 159, while fighting Alan Belcher, The Count suffered a detached retina in his right eye. That injury, in itself, is not a career-ending injury. While he was rehabbing the injury, one of the precautions to keep the retina in-place, was removed too soon and the retina detached again. He had been sidelined for almost 12 months. He was supposed to take an eye test for the UFC in early 2014 to get the OK to start training again. He passed that test and was put on the schedule to fight at the UFC TUF Finale, where he lost a unanimous decision to Tim Kennedy. It appears that he is physically able to fight again (clearance from his doctors), but I am not certain he is fully ready to come back, mentally. Having a detached retina is like going blind in that eye. On several occasions, while he was recovering, his eye filled with blood and he basically went blind temporarily. A broken arm or a torn rotator cuff or broken shins are all injuries that a fighter can usually recover from. Going blind in an eye…and not knowing if you are going to be able to see out of that eye again, I assume would be very disconcerting. Bisping has said in several interviews that if the doctors had given him ANY indication that this injury was at-risk of causing permanent damage, he would have immediately retired and stopped fighting. He was very mature about not wanting to be permanently damaged for a paycheck.

I hope, for the sake of the sport (MMA), Michael Bisping comes back 100%. His last fight was not his best outing, but he is slated to fight again as the main card on Fight Night 48 on August 23. He is fighting Cung Le…so I hope he brings his “A-Game”.

Even though I am not one of his biggest fans, I am glad to see Bisping back in the octagon. Not only is he a great fighter…but he is one of the most entertaining to watch and listen to. …Good luck, Count.