One of the greatest nights in mixed martial arts (MMA) history went down inside The Forum last night (Sat., June 4, 2016) at the UFC 199: "Rockhold vs. Bisping 2" pay-per-view (PPV) event, featuring a dizzying number of unbelievable fights and jaw-dropping moments.
In the main event of the evening, Michael Bisping shocked the MMA world, proving once again nothing is impossible inside the Octagon by flatlining the UFC Champion Luke Rockhold in the first round of their title fight.
The co-main event featured the conclusion of one of MMA's great rivalries, as Dominick Cruz put together yet another masterful and awe-inspiring performance against his arch nemesis and perennial contender Urijah Faber, defending his Bantamweight title via unanimous decision (highlights here).
With that quick overview of the night's marquee bouts, here are your biggest winners, as well as the runners-up from California.
Biggest Winner: Michael Bisping
In a night for the ages in MMA, Michael Bisping reigned supreme as the undisputed UFC Middleweight Champion of the world.
Let that sink in for a moment.
After 10 years of being a perennial contender, just falling short of a title shot on multiple occassions, "The Count" walked into The Forum a near 10-1 underdog and knocked out Luke Rockhold.
On 2 weeks' notice no less!
Bisping, the man who has been ridiculed by fans for his "pillow fists" and inability to conjure up a knockout, brutally and violently finished a man who just destroyed former champ Chris Weidman, and holds a victory over Bisping to boot.
I can hardly recall a more thrilling moment in the history of the sport than seeing Bisping pull off what is arguably the biggest upset of all time, and finally reaching the apex of the mountain he has climbed for over a decade.
As possibly the greatest cherry on top, Bisping was able to continue his verbal assault on a seething and frustrated Rockhold at the epic post-fight press conference (watch the replay here), all while wearing a beautiful shit-eating grin and slamming beers.
Runners-Up: Dan Henderson
In what could very well be his last fight in a legendary hall-of-fame career, Dan Henderson managed to pull off a colossal upset over Hector Lombard by knocking him out viciously in the second round.
What better way for "Hendo" to go out?
In a truly wild affair, Henderson and Lombard went after it early on, with both men nearly being finished in the first frame. In the second, the former PRIDE two-division champ managed to pull off a head kick that stunned Lombard, and in the ensuing scramble, clobbered him with a unique and devastating back elbow.
99 PPV events after his historic forearm to the face of a already brutally knocked out Michael Bisping, "Hendo" once again delivered nearly the exact same shot to an unconscious Lombard.
At 45-years old, winning two of his last three fights via knockout, and his remarkable achievements inside the Octagon, UFC 199 would be an epic conclusion to Dan Henderson's career.
Honorable Mentions: UFC 199 was full of so many incredible moments that it would be unjust not to at least mention some of the other major winners from the PPV.
The Fans: It is cliche, but UFC 199 delivered a bit of everything and more.
The colossal upset and achievement of Michael Bisping becoming UFC champ, the culmination of one of MMA's great rivalries in Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber, arguably the final fight and knockout of Dan Henderson's career, another wildly entertaining Max Holloway performance, and Dustin Poirier's third knockout in his last four fights.
And that was only the main card!
As if the fights weren't incredible enough, UFC brass dropped two major bombshells on the PPV:
1. Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 2 is official for UFC 202 on August 2nd, 2016 in Las Vegas.
2. Brock Lesnar is coming out of retirement to fight in three weeks in the UFC 200 co-main event.
Yea, UFC 199 was outstanding at every turn.
Even before the main card action, fight fans were treated to incredible knockouts from Brian Ortega and Beniel Dariush, and a truly iconic "Prelims" war between Marco Polo Reyes and Dong Hyun Kim.
Seriously, if you missed that fight, stop reading this and head to UFC Fight Pass immediately.
Biggest Losers: UFC Brass
How could UFC brass be the biggest losers on a historic night that seemingly never failed to impress and deliver at every turn?
By kicking out and taking away the credentials of MMAFighting.com reporters Ariel Helwani, E. Casey Leydon, and Esther Lin, for apparently no reason other than doing their jobs successfully.
Helwani initially reported the Brock Lesnar and McGregor/Diaz 2 news prior to UFC's major announcements at UFC 199, so many in the MMA community believe he and his team were pulled prior to the main event, and allegedly "banned for life" according to Helwani, for doing so.
Point blank, Helwani's job is to report the news good, bad, or ugly, and to pull his credentials is completely and utterly bush-league.
Unless UFC brass have a legitimate claim against Helwani, there is no saving face in this situation that truly makes them look second rate in the sports world.
Not only did Luke Rockhold lose his title in California tonight, but he proved to be quite the sore-loser as well.
After being the victim of a massive upset at the hands of Michael Bisping, Rockhold could hardly hold back his frustration at the post-fight press conference, unleashing a tirade of verbal assaults at the jovial Englishman who just knocked him out.
Rockhold wasn't too happy with how Bisping mocked him following the victory, calling him a "maggot" among other things.
While I can hardly imagine how difficult it is to lose in such a situation with so much on the line, especially against a fighter you have already manhandled, Rockhold came off just about as negative as he could following the event.
Most fighters lick their wounds, and get back to the drawing board, but Rockhold was just itching to run it back at the press conference.
As usual, Bisping got the better of the verbal exchanges after the fight as well, but it's the physical exchanges inside the Octagon that really makes Rockhold the biggest loser of UFC 199.
For complete results from UFC 199: "Rockhold vs. Bisping 2," including play-by-play updates click here.
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