Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping has announced that he is retiring from the sport at the age of 39.
“So obviously I’ve teased this for a long time now, I might fight again, I might not,” Bisping said on his ‘Believe You Me’ podcast. “And unfortunately it’s not a fight that I’m announcing. I am going to announce my official retirement from mixed martial arts.”
Bisping went on to reveal that his decision had been partly motivated by concerns over his sight, having fought on despite on-going issues with a detached retina in his right eye, and then discovering that he now has a problem with his left one following his last KO loss to Kelvin Gastelum.
“Every time I look left, it flashes. And it still does it now when it’s dark,” Bisping said of his left eye. “It’s light now so I can’t see it. So I started freaking out, thinking oh my God, I don’t believe this, I’ve got a detached retina in my good eye. I have problems with my bad eye, it doesn’t look good, so obviously I was kind of freaking out.”
It turns out that Bisping is actually suffering from a condition known as vitreous detachment brought on my trauma, which could lead to a retina detachment in the future.
As such, it would have been unsafe for ‘The Count’ to continue fighting, but nonetheless, he was considering the possibility of fighting Rashad Evans at UFC: London earlier this year, though he now acknowledges that would have been a bad move.
It appears that Bisping’s final decision to call it quits may have come as recently as the night before his announcement after watching the movie, ‘Journeyman’ which depicts the tragic decline of an aging boxer who suffers brain trauma later in his career.
“I was watching this movie last night and I just thought, it ain’t worth it,” Bisping said. “It ain’t worth it. I mean, what else am I going to do? I’ve won the belt, I’ve had tons of wins, I’ve done everything that I set out to achieve. What’s the point in flogging a dead horse? Not that I’m a dead horse, but what’s the point? I’ve done everything that I set out to achieve, and fortunately now I’ve used my platform to open other doors. You know, you’ve got to know when to walk away. I’m almost 40 years old, the time is now. So, I want to say, first of all, thank you to my wife. Without her, it wouldn’t have happened. That’s a fact. She was incredible every single step of the way. My children. My dad. My dad was amazing. And of course everyone in the U.K. and around the world that supported me.
“So, yeah, there you go. Great career. That’s that. Thank you everybody.”
Bisping has certainly built a lasting legacy in the sport over his 30-9 career, which began 13-years-ago.
A Cage Rage and Cage Warriors champion in the early days of his career in the UK, Bisping rose to prominence on the global stage after winning The Ultimate Fighter Season 3 in 2006.
Bisping soon established himself as a notable name in the UFC ranks after winning four of his first five fights at light-heavyweight, before moving down to middleweight where the majority of his Octagon campaign would be fought.
The Brit has gone on to register the most UFC fights in the history of the promotion (29, a record he shares with Jim Miller) and in a late-career surge would finally achieve his dream of becoming a champion when he KO’d Luke Rockhold in the first round of UFC 199 in 2016 after stepping in as a late replacement on less than two weeks notice.
Bisping went on to defend his title and avenge an infamously brutal KO loss to Dan Henderson, before losing the belt in a big-money fight with Georges St-Pierre.
Aside from Rockhold and Henderson, Bisping’s other big wins during his career included the likes of Anderson Silva, Cung Le, Alan Belcher, Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller and Brian Stann.