For Michael Bisping, every match is a grudge match. The TUF 3 winner never met a fellow fighter he couldn’t take the piss out of in his 21-fight (!) UFC career, and to be totally honest, I’m kind of starting to love the dude for it.
Truly the silver-tongued, tea-sipping Diaz brother is his highness Count Bisping, who has found himself in yet another war of words with former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold heading into their Fight Night 55 headliner on November 7th. Ben Fowlkes attempted to get to the bottom of Bisping’s seemingly endless dickishness in an interview published on MMAJunkie yesterday, and according to the Brit, pre-fight trash simply serves as his way of keeping the constant eat-train-sleep schedule from growing stale. According to Rockhold, however, Bisping is just “a prick that most people don’t like.” A regular Felix Unger and Oscar Madison these two are, I tells ya!
But as heated as Bisping vs. Rockhold has been thus far (see their “Counterpunch” segment above, their rooftop staredown, etc.), it doesn’t hold a candle to Bisping’s verbal sparring matches with Hollywood Henderson and that Bully Beatdown host guy whose life he destroyed. So it is through rage-filled, bloodshot eyes that we take a look back at Bisping’s most heated rivalries and rank them on a scale of Berk to Arselicking Plonker.
#9 — Charles McCarthy
So the saying goes, “Opinions are like assholes, and Michael Bisping is one opinionated asshole.” He’s also a guy who was never shy on confidence, which Charles “Chainsaw” McCarthy took issue with heading into their fight back at UFC 83. Oddly enough, it was actually McCarthy who attacked Bisping first through the media, telling CBS Sports:
(He’s) real arrogant, and, you know — not much else, really. He’s gonna get choked out April 19.
I have very little regard for that guy. I can’t wait to go in there and get my arm around his neck. It’s going to be a cool experience. I hope to put him to sleep before he decides to tap.
Bisping was quick to respond via his blog, The Countdown, with the following shot at McCarthy’s self-hyped BJJ credentials:
Next week’s Countdown will be filed after I’ve come face-to-face with the reigning BJJ uber-master of the galaxy. If anyone wants me to ask him for an autograph for you, please e-mail me, but keep your requests down to six per person.
Whaddya think of that one, Kelso?
When it came time to put words aside, Bisping was simply too much for his fellow TUF alum, overwhelming McCarthy with a barrage of knees (that in fact broke McCarthy’s arm) and forcing a stoppage inside of the first round. It was Bisping’s first true grudge match in the UFC, and one that would set the precedent for years to come.
#8 – Wanderlei Silva
Bisping’s war of words with PRIDE legend Wanderlei Silva prior to UFC 110, if the Interwebs are to be believed, doesn’t seem like one that “The Count” actually started, hence its ranking on this list. By this point in his career, Bisping had already firmly established himself as one of the best trash-talkers in the business, whereas Silva was already being labeled by some people not named Michael Bisping as “a fading legend with a weird new face who is growing increasingly desperate for a win.” Still, Wanderlei struck first, stating how much he “didn’t like” Bisping (classic diss!) in several interviews during the lead-up, prompting Bisping to pretty much declare the same (albeit in slightly more comprehensible “English”). Words were shared between the two at the UFC 110 pre-fight press conference (see above), and a week later it was on, son.
The fight itself was a pretty back-and-forth affair, but thanks to a late knockdown at the end of the third and the most brutal guillotine attempt you will ever see in your life, “The Axe Murderer” had the last laugh, emerging victorious by unanimous decision.
#7 — Cung Le
Cung Le never had a bad word to say about nobody, and by all accounts appears to be an incredibly well-spoken, humble guy. Of course, this can only mean one thing (if you’re Michael Bisping): He’s a phony. A big, fat phony.
And because Le was/is such an obvious phony, Bisping felt obliged to tell every two-bit reporter in shouting distance how much of a phony Le was in the weeks before their Fight Night 48 scrap. Like during this fan Q&A, for instance:
I went to Macao for the launch press conference with Cung Le in June, and I was very polite, very professional. I exchanged all the pleasantries, gave him all the small talk as you are supposed to in these situations, and I even went as far as pretending to be absolutely blown away that he’s apparently friends with Channing Tatum. … Then I see him on UFC.com doing a Fight Club Q&A and he’s talking a load of bulls–t about me. Basically, he’s jumped on the same old, boring bandwagon everyone else who fights me does, which is to say what a smack-talker I am while, as always, they are the ones who talk crap first. What a phony. If he had a problem with me then he could have spared me all the boring anecdotes about Channing Tatum.
You see, in Michael Bisping’s mind, calling someone a phony who talks trash behind your back while simultaneously talking trash behind *their* back is in no way hypocritical. It makes total sense, actually, and somehow makes you appear as the victim in a situation that you are totally fueling. Have I mentioned how much I love this guy?
Bisping then went on to attack Le’s acting career (Le was the bomb in Pandorum, yo!), his age, and his suspiciously jacked physique — the latter of which he may or may not been correct about, who the f*ck knows.
Anyways, the fight was nothing short of spectacular, and arguably Bisping’s best performance in the octagon to date. Both fighters trading heavy shots for four rounds and wobbled each other on multiple occasions, but it was Bisping’s renowned cardio and crisp boxing that ultimately sealed him the victory via TKO. Cung Le’s face has never recovered.
# 6 — Vitor Belfort
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about each of Michael Bisping’s rivalries (the most consistent, anyway) is how quickly they seem to spark from the smallest catalyst. Bisping’s ability to create something from nothing is second to none — like watching a small snowball roll down a mountainside, accumulating mass and gathering speed by the second, until it takes out a bus full of blind orphans who just happened to be taking that route for their yearly field trip. What Kseniya Simonova is to sand painting, Michael Bisping is to schoolyard displays of masculinity, and I say that not as a criticism, but as a compliment of his ability to sell a grudge match where none seemingly exists.
Take the genesis of his beef with Vitor Belfort, for instance. According to Bisping, the whole thing started when he heard through the grapevine that Belfort had called him “a hooligan.” Seems innocent enough, right? That word may have a bit more context behind it when applied to British folk, but being called a hooligan is way lighter than, say, being called an potato-faced little sh*teater with dicks for fingers, right?
Wrong. Bisping lashed out a Belfort almost immediately, telling him to stick the apologetic text messages he had been sent “up his ass” (Belfort’s ass, that is) and calling the Brazilian a “cheater” for hitting so many people in the back of the head over the years. Again, I should clarify that illegally kneeing an opponent while he’s down and spitting on his cornermen is one thing, but hitting people in the back of the head is entirely something else. To Michael Bisping.
In any case, pissing off “TRTor” turned out to be a huge mistake for The Count, and after a couple of intense staredowns, Belfort proceeded to channel his inner Major Payne and put his foot right upside Bisping’s head at UFC on FX 7. Surely this lesson in humility would mark the very last time Bisping engaged in pre-fight trash-talk…
#5– Alan Belcher
JK, you guys! Bisping’s very next fight against Alan Belcher would be a particularly heated affair, rife with some of The Count’s most scathing insults to date. Hyeah!!!
Although Bisping originally dismissed Belcher’s callouts as yet another case of some a-hole trying to become famous off his good name, he simply couldn’t help himself after the two were paired together in the co-main event of UFC 159. Bisping first took to his blog to drop some sick burns about how Belcher had stunk up the joint against Yushin Okami at UFC 155 (a sentiment that Belcher would probably agree with) and how he had probably detached his retina due to watching too much Internet porn. He then dubbed Belcher “some retard from Mississippi” and threatened to “smack the stupid look” off his face during their pre-fight presser. While I don’t personally think that smacking a retard would be a great move from a publicity standpoint, such is Count Bisping.
While Belcher didn’t deliver much in terms of witty repartee, he did promise to knock Bisping out, which was something that fans has been praying to see ever since that time Bisping was knocked out in the fight before this one. But unfortunately, neither Bisping nor Belcher delivered on the hype, and the fight equated to little more than an above-average sparring session. Until Bisping rendered Belcher unable to continue due with a particularly vicious eye poke in the third round, that is, and secured a technical decision victory.
Accidental or otherwise, the eye poke earned Bisping even more heat than usual from irate fans, who could only take solace when the MMA Gods evened the scales a few months later.