Following UFC 268 on Saturday night, Justin Gaethje accused UFC color commentator Michael Bisping of being biased with his commentary during the main event between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman, but Jon Anik has now spoke out in support of his fellow broadcast partner.
“I thought (Usman) won the fight,” Gaethje said of his teammate when asked about the outcome after UFC 286. “But I’m probably as biased as the judges. (I’m) certainly not as biased as Michael Bisping. He shouldn’t have been (anywhere) near a microphone during that fight. Yeah, it sucks.”
However, Gaethje stopped short of calling for Bisping to be removed from featuring on future events, stating that, “It’s not my call, I just thought it was very unprofessional.”
The thrust of Gaethje’s argument seems to be that he believed Bisping to have been biased in favor of his fellow UK fighter Edwards, but the UFC’s lead play-by-play commentator Jon Anik who worked alongside him on Saturday night has now spoke out to say that in his view that’s simply not the case.
“1) Must say in defense of my broadcast partner @bisping, the man has zero agenda nor any bias when calling fights,” Anik wrote on Twitter. “Might even have closer personal relationship w/ Kamaru Usman than he does Leon Edwards. He just felt as though Edwards controlled the stand-up, landed more cleanly.
“2) The job of MMA commentator is not as hard as that of fighter, judge, or referee, but it’s hard. We are judged on every utterance over 8+ hours and certainly there are things we’d love to take back. Someone is usually upset w/ something. Never had a perfect show. Never will.”
For what it’s worth, Anik also noted that he, like Bisping, believed Edwards had done enough to win, although after watching again he says he now feels it was a draw.
“While broadcasting Edwards-Usman 3 live, certainly felt as though Leon Edwards landed the more consequential shots and felt he won the fight. Upon watching it back, my scorecard reads 47-47. Outstanding championship fight. I’ll never judge. Respect to the athletes on a classic!”
Meanwhile, Bisping has also addressed Gaethje’s comments on his YouTube channel today and revealed that he did send him a message online after first hearing of his comments.
“I respect Justin and I’m not going to get into an argument with him online,” Bisping said. “I did shoot him a message directly and just said, y’know, “what the hell man, you’re out of line.
“He said ‘Lol’. I said ‘Yeah, Lol indeed. Congrats on a great win’, because it was a great win.”
You can check out Bisping’s full comments on both Gaethje’s win over Rafael Fiziev and his post-fight comments below.