Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping announced his retirement from mixed martial arts Monday via his podcast ‘Believe You Me.’
“I’ve teased this for a long time now — [that] I might fight again, I might not. Unfortunately, it’s not a fight that I’m announcing. I am going to announce my official retirement from mixed martial arts,” Bisping said on the show.
The 39-year-old cited mounting injuries — particularly issues involving his right eye, which have persisted since 2013, and complications with his left eye which arose last year — as the motivation to hang up his gloves after 15 years in the ring.
“You can’t do it forever,” Bisping said. “I’ve been doing it for a long time — of course, I’ve got issues with my eye. After the [Kelvin] Gastelum fight, then I started having issues with my good eye, which I’ve never spoken about before.”
After considering retirement for months following his most recent loss, Bisping said he finally came to the decision after watching the film Journeyman, which depicts a boxing champion struggling with the effects of brain trauma late in his career.
“I was watching this movie last night and I just thought, ‘It ain’t worth it. It ain’t worth it.’ I mean, what else am I going to do?” Bisping said on his show. “I’ve won the belt, I’ve had tons of wins … I’ve done everything I set out to achieve, and fortunately now I’ve used my platform to open other doors. You know, you’ve got to know when to walk away. I’m almost 40 years old. The time is now.”
Bisping’s lengthy career culminated in a knockout victory over Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 — a fight the British fighter took on 17 days’ notice after original challenger Chris Weidman dropped out due to injury — which earned the MMA veteran the UFC Middlewight Championship. He defended the belt once against Dan Henderson at UFC 206, back on his home soil in Manchester, before relinquishing the belt a year later via a loss to Canadian fighter Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217.
Taking another fight just 21 days later, Bisping was knocked out by Gastelum in what looks set to stand as the final fight of his UFC career.
‘The Count’ walks away from the sport with a 31-9 record stretching back to 2004, having collected two Performance of the Night bonuses and five Fight of the Night bonuses in the UFC as one of the sport’s longest-tenured stars.