Michael Bisping is an asshole. He’s a tremendous asshole, and he makes no apologies for it. Sometimes, his assholishness is undeniably entertaining — like when he recently described Hector Lombard as a “poison dwarf” whose mother smoked while she was pregnant. And sometimes he’s just a dick, straight up.
Case in point — at UFC 152 on September 22nd in Toronto, Bisping is fighting Brian Stann in a bout that could have title implications in the middleweight division. Technically, it’s the co-main event that night, supporting the UFC’s first-ever flyweight championship fight between Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson. (Whenever there’s a title match on a UFC card, it automatically gets main-event status, regardless of the relative popularity of those headliners compared to the card’s supporting players.) Anyway, here’s Bisping trying to sell his fight against Stann during an appearance on FuelTV on Saturday:
“In my opinion, and I think in most people’s, this is the main event. This is the real main event. Two big hard hitting guys. No one cares about little flyweights, this is the real main event, this is the real big fight, tune in cause someone’s getting knocked out, ain’t going to be me though.”
To say that “nobody” cares about “little” flyweights is both an exaggeration and a bit insulting. Some people do care about the 125-pound division, and having the two best flyweights in the world headline a pay-per-view is the kind of thing that UFC needs to do in order to build more interest in that weight class. (And yes Mike, you’re taller than Joseph and Demetrious; go ahead and pat yourself on the back.) Also, does Bisping really need to diminish other guys in the promotion in order to hype his own fight? I understand why he’d want to talk shit on Lombard, but publicly dissing the UFC’s newest weight division doesn’t do the company any favors from a business standpoint.
Then again…through his assholishness, Bisping manages to raise a valid point. Do all title fights deserve to get main-event status by default, when there are other fights on the card that would draw more attention? (Keep in mind that UFC 152 also features Rory MacDonald vs. BJ Penn, which is a more exciting matchup to me than Benavidez/Johnson or Bisping/Stann.)
Hardcore UFC fans will know that there are at least three interesting fights leading the UFC 152 lineup. But if you’re a casual fan and you just see “UFC 152: Benavidez vs. Johnson” on your cable listings, that probably won’t mean much to you — certainly not enough to shell out $55 on the spur of the moment. Like it or not, the main event has a significant impact on the overall interest level for a given card, and if that affects how many people turn out to see Michael Bisping fight Brian Stann, then the Count has a right to be salty about it.
What do you guys think? Does Benavidez vs. Johnson really deserve to be UFC 152′s main event? And when it comes to your interest level in MMA, how much does size matter?