Despite his constant pleas of innocence, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion Anderson Silva has taken a big hit in his popularity with fans and fellow colleagues alike, after he failed multiple drug tests for his bout against Nick Diaz at UFC 183 earlier this year.
Michael Bisping, however, will reserve his judgement until after the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) concludes its finding and hands out a disciplinary sentence.
When that will be, is still anyone's guess.
And what was once a fight "The Count" wanted in the worst possible way, now seems to have lost some of its luster. As he recently declared during the UFC Fight Night 72 media conference call (full audio replay here), the desire to fight a man he once considered a "hero" doesn't burn as deeply as it once did.
"Anderson was, for a long time, a hero of mine. Even though we were in the same weight class and I wanted to fight him for so long, you could not-not admire and respect what he did inside the Octagon. Of course, the things that he did still stand, but there has been a bit of a cloud lately. So, it was a shame to hear about the test results. Of course, he says there is something wrong, so I don't know. It's just disappointing. Would I still love to fight the guy? Of course I would. I'd still love to get in there in the Octagon with him, but, he has fallen a little bit recently, so it's not the burning issue that it once was. I've fought many guys over the years that have used performance-enhancing drugs, so I obviously have a very dim view of that. I have always been a hard-working and honest guy. The only that that I take are protein shakes, and that's it. Only blood, sweat, and tears go into my preparation. I've had injuries in the past from guys who were on performance-enhancing drugs. In this sport, there is no place for that. We're not trying to put balls through hoops, it's a fight, so you shouldn't be doing those things. So, anybody that does that, I immediately lose a lot of respect for. The sentence hasn't been delivered and we yet to see what happens, so I reserve my judgement until the athletic commission makes their decision."
While Anderson sits on the sidelines, the division he ruled for seven years continues to march forward to the beat of a new drum, as Chris Weidman has proven that he is a legitimate champion after defending his title three times, most recently against Vitor Belfort at UFC 187.
Bisping is also marching forward, as he looks for his second straight win when he faces Thales Leites -- a man who has fought Anderson before -- in the UFC Fight Night 72 mixed martial arts (MMA) main event, scheduled for July 18, 2015 inside SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.