I’ve finally allowed myself to contemplate my long-running dislike for Michael Bisping. It’s a dark place in my psyche, as I rarely allow dislike for fighters to take root.
But, with a few, it does, and Bisping leads the pack, at least in mixed martial arts (MMA). After UFC 159 last night (Sat., April 27, 2013) which took place at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., I finally realized the real reason. It’s not the blustering attitude and bad behavior (spitting on Jorge Rivera, or getting into repetitive, manufactured beefs with virtually every opponent).
It’s the fact that when he wins, after talking a world a smack, most of the time it’s in dreary, buzz-killing fashion, such as the case last night when he was his pesky, consistent self, pillow-fighting Alan Belcher en route to a third round stoppage after an eye poke mercifully brought the affair to an end via judges’ decision (watch highlights here ... if you dare).
I suppose they had to be woken up to submit their scorecards, because everyone in the living room where I was watching did. To his credit, Bisping is a very tough out. He is exceptionally well-conditioned, his takedown defense is outstanding, along with good grappling and technically sound striking and foot movement.
Given the fact that he also suffers from weird affliction of being unable to break an egg with his strikes, it makes him pretty much the ultimate point fighter, kind of like a Frankie Edgar if "The Answer" never knocked anyone of note out (notice I said "of note," which means that Jason Miller doesn’t count).
That’s the reason I watch Bisping -- to see him get KTFO.
I didn’t like his incredible disrespect for Dan Henderson, a legend in the sport who warranted no such treatment, and seeing Henderson finish him with one of the truly great all-time finishes made me deeply satisfied. Bisping understands it’s his job to carry the promotion to a certain extent, but he seems to take umbrage at the idea of anyone daring to even fight him, which is an entertaining ruse, given the fact that Bisping beating people basically means him winning a pillow fight with you a beat behind.
Except pillow fights are more intriguing.
It’s reductive and boring to see Bisping fight, and win, because he turns people into the worst kind of viewing fare. It’s MMA point fighting at its absolute worst. That’s the reason seeing him lose is so satisfying. Every time he fights, I want to see him lose, and when he gives us garbage like last night (yeah, he wins, blah blah – but do you want to pay for this garbage on every card?), it only makes me want to see him get stretched out more.
That’s why Vitor Belfort will always have a soft spot in my heart, too.
His decimation of Bisping was artistically satisfying, plus denied "The Count" a possible title shot. I suppose after decisioning Belcher, Bisping will get another step-up fight down the road, but only after the UFC milks his United Kingdom appeal as long as possible (again).
At which point seeing him get KO’d is all the more satisfying.
Jason Probst can be reached at www.twitter.com/jasonprobst