Michael Bisping is not the kind of guy to live with regret.
The former UFC middleweight champion suffered a brutal first round knockout to Kelvin Gastelum this past weekend in China, just three weeks removed from a loss to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 in New York.
Bisping was the one who called the UFC to ask for the chance to face Gastelum on short notice after his original opponent Anderson Silva was pulled from the card after he was flagged by USADA for a potential doping violation.
While Bisping made the offer, the UFC ultimately accepted and put him into the fight with Gastelum just three weeks after he suffered a knockdown courtesy of St-Pierre before he was finished with a rear naked choke on the ground.
UFC color commentator Joe Rogan, who didn’t call the fights from China on Saturday, said on his new MMA podcast that allowing Bisping to return three weeks after his fight with St-Pierre was lunacy and somebody should have intervened.
“I don’t think you should be allowed to fight three weeks after you have a brutal fight like Michael Bisping did with GSP,” Rogan explained. “He got rocked. He got choked unconscious and then three weeks later he’s fighting a really dangerous young and up and coming Kelvin Gastelum. Kelvin is a beast. He’s got nasty boxing and that is what he showed in that fight. He hit him with a beautiful straight right jab and a [left] hand behind it and that kid is just on fire.
“You really have to protect a fighter from themselves. You really can’t be letting a guy fight three weeks after an absolutely brutal fight like that. It just does not make sense. I don’t think it’s smart. I understand the UFC needed someone to fill in short notice because Anderson Silva tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and they did not want to lose the Shanghai main event. It turns into an even bigger fight when you’ve got the former middleweight champion right off of his loss, three weeks later, fighting again but it’s just not smart.”
Still, Rogan argues that someone should have said thanks but no thanks when it came to Bisping’s offer to face Gastelum this past Saturday. Add to that, Rogan knows that Bisping has already discussed returning again in March when the UFC has its next card in England because he wants that to serve as his retirement bout from the sport.
As special as that might be for Bisping, Rogan wonders if fighting again in March might still be too soon considering the punishment he took from St-Pierre and now it’s only been compounded from the knockout courtesy of Gastelum.
“I know Bisping wanted to do it. I know Bisping would probably do it again if you asked him to do it. If you asked Bisping to fight in a couple weeks, he’d probably do it again,” Rogan said. “Someone was talking about him fighting in England, which I believe is the end of March. That’s less crazy but still crazy. We’re basically into December.
“So you’ve got December, January, February, three months off really and then March but of course during that time he’s going to be sparring and you know Bisping. He’s a f–king animal. He’s not going to train easy. He’s not going to take much time off.”
Rogan understands that there’s no set timeline for a fighter to return from a knockout and athletic commissions rarely hand out anything more than a 30 day suspension after someone is rendered unconscious in a bout.
That means if Bisping wanted to return in March, he’d still have time off between now and then to allow his mind and body to heal but Rogan can’t be certain that even three months off is enough.
“There’s a debate on how much time a fighter should be forced to take off after they get knocked out,” Rogan explained. “Here’s the thing about that — you’re seeing guys when they’re fighting and you’re seeing them getting knocked out and you’re seeing them fighting ‘X’ amount of months later. So you saw Bisping, he didn’t get knocked out by Georges St-Pierre but he certainly got rocked with that left hook and then he got choked out when he was on the ground.”
Of course, Rogan acknowledges that getting choked out is still a far better scenario than getting knocked out when it comes to brain health but Bisping still took a hard shot from St-Pierre before the fight went to the ground.
Now Bisping has been knocked out on top of that and there’s no way that’s going to be good for his long term health.
“For Michael Bisping, he’s kind of at the end of his career,” Rogan said. “I mean essentially he said he wants to fight one more time in England, which would be beautiful for him and I hope they give him a good matchup so it will be a good fight for the fans and I hope they give Michael some time off.
“Give the man some time to really relax and then go through a real nice three, four month training camp, get in excellent shape and give his best effort for one more go at it. I would like to see that.”