Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping won’t have a final swansong inside the cage after all.
It’s been teased for some time, but Bisping – the United Kingdom’s first and only UFC champion – officially announced his retirement from the sport on his ‘Believe You Me’ podcast on Monday.
“So obviously I’ve teased this for a long time now, I might fight again, I might not. And unfortunately it’s not a fight that I’m announcing. I am going to announce my official retirement from mixed martial arts,” Bisping said per MMAFighting.
This signals the end of Bisping’s glittering 14-year career, the biggest highlight coming in June 2016 when he defeated rival Luke Rockhold on 17 days’ notice to win the UFC middleweight title which had long eluded him. This was the first fight since his stirring five-round victory over UFC legend Anderson Silva.
After that, Bisping successfully defended his belt against another old rival in Dan Henderson. However, his last two fights saw him drop the championship to Georges St-Pierre in November in a fun back-and-forth fight, before taking another fight, Kelvin Gastelum, just three weeks after losing to GSP.
Unfortunately for Bisping, the Brit suffered the third knockout loss of his career to Gastelum.
Suffering significant issues with his right eye since being diagnosed with a detached retina following his fight with Vitor Belfort in 2013, Bisping revealed the Gastelum loss resulted in further eye troubles – this time with his left eye.
Bisping said he saw “flashes” after the bout and those issues have continued since. He was later diagnosed with a viterious detachment in his left eye, leaving him at risk with another detached retina.
“I realized there’s no flash going on; it’s just my eye, and every time I look left, it flashes. And it still does it now when it’s dark. 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.”
Despite this, Bisping had been angling for a rematch against Rashad Evans for UFC London back in March.
Besides the issues he has with his vision, Bisping claims watching the film ‘Journeyman’ prompted his decision. The movie follows an aging boxer, portrayed by Paddy Considine, who suffers with mental and physical issues from the brain trauma he suffered from his time in the ring.
“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 retires with an MMA record of 30-9, boasting all-time UFC records including most wins in UFC history, landing the most significant strikes in UFC history, as well as competing in the most UFC bouts in the promotion’s history.