When Dana White makes the statement, “Fighting is in our DNA,” sometimes you laugh out loud and think he’s saying it just to help sell a fighter or a particular event.
That sentiment couldn’t ring more true when it comes to Michael Bisping as he faces Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night from the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. Bisping is stepping in for Anderson Silva, who got pulled from the card on Nov. 10 for failing a drug test administered in October.
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On the surface, Bisping looks like a savior for rescuing an event that, without this main event, would have featured the worst card in UFC history. When you get those initial thoughts out of way and really look at it, the Season 3 winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” shouldn’t be fighting this weekend.
Just three weeks ago at UFC 217, Bisping lost his middleweight championship to Georges St-Pierre by third-round submission. People will think that because he lost by submission, he can go in and immediately fight. But the setup to the submission was a vicious left hook which sent Bisping packing to the mat, and St-Pierre unleashed a flurry of ground-and-pound punches and elbows. Look at his face after the fight. That isn’t someone who should be stepping back into battle 21 days later against the hard-hitting Gastelum.
Then you have the fans who feel that fighters know what they are getting in to and should be ready anytime, anywhere. Bisping has done similar things before. After defeating Charles McCarthy in his middleweight debut at UFC 83 in April 2008, Bisping jumped right back into action seven weeks later to stop Jason Day in the first round at UFC 85. And who can forget jumping off a movie set on 17 days notice and little training to knock out Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 and capture the middleweight title?
It’s easier to take short notice fights in your late 20s and haven’t been through the wars Bisping endured as his UFC career went on, and when you haven’t fought in three months to give your body proper rest.
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But Bisping wanted to get the taste of UFC 217 out of his mouth as quickly as possible.
“Obviously, I was upset about how the fight went, and I’ve been a bit depressed, and this came up and the best way to get rid of that is to just get right back in there,” Bisping told Flo Combat.
No fighter likes to lose, especially a world championship. Understandably, Bisping wants to get the loss out of his mind. Nearing the end of his career and the wars Bisping has gone through against the likes of Silva, Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort, discretion should have been the better part of valor.
Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing writer and contributor for Sporting News. You can listen to his podcast, “The Fight Junkies” here. You can email him at email@example.com and can find him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.