UFC on Fox 2: Despite Media Distractions, Michael Bisping Handles Business

January 25, 2012

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Don’t think for a moment that you can bother Michael Bisping when he’s getting ready for a fight.

The presence of press and media-types with their cameras, smart phones, and voice recorders appears to get in the way of what is the biggest fight of his career. “You’re really (expletive) up my training,” he said, visibly frustrated after having a cameraman shoot footage of him in the cage before his UFC on FOX 2 fight against Chael Sonnen.

His trainer, Tiki Goshen, is much more subtle about asking media to vacate the premises. “Do you guys have to go out and eat lunch or something?” he asks with a soft-spoken tone. “Maybe come back in like 45 minutes.”

But it’s clear “The Count” isn’t concerned with whether or not the press will return after his training session, which includes grappling with names like Dean Lister and former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields.

But the abrupt request for press to leave isn’t Bisping’s fault. He was in his last week of training camp, and finally getting the opportunity to start the cool-down process before he fights at UFC on FOX 2 in Chicago. “I’m tired,” he told MMAWeekly.com when asked if he’d participate in some back-and-forth banter during an interview.

When you’re tired and overworked, do you act the same way? Probably. Everyone’s been there.

At his request, the media leaves and Bisping continues doing what he’s been doing for the last several weeks – preparing to “go out there and fight (his) fight.” And what is his fight? One that stays on the feet, according to the one-time Ultimate Fighter winner.

Prior to agreeing to fight Sonnen at UFC on FOX 2, Bisping was scheduled to fight Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia. The preparation for that contest called for training partners Lister and Shields, both of which are world-class jiu-jitsu practitioners and had success implementing the style in mixed martial arts competition.

But once Mark Munoz was injured and forced to withdraw from the Chicago card, Bisping got the call while out at lunch from UFC president Dana White to step up in Munoz’s place. After consulting with coaches and camp members, Bisping decided a fight with Sonnen is the right fight to take.

The British fighter – who relocated to Southern California just a few months ago – admits that he would have brought in more wrestlers to train with for the Sonnen fight was presented earlier, but such things don’t matter at this point. A lot of jiu-jitsu and wrestling training crosses over, said The Count.

“Demian Maia was going to try and take me down and submit me, I’m assuming,” Bisping said on a recent conference call. “The game plan was to keep it on the feet and use my striking. It’s pretty much the same thing for Chael Sonnen.

“It’s not important on what my opponent is going to do. It’s about what I’m going to do.”

And what Bisping does is work hard. This is plainly obvious from witnessing his training session – for as long as he allows you, anyway. Careful instruction and attention to detail stay paramount, as Lister explains the intricacies of numerous positions on the ground and which directions one should go when in those positions.

Like a student willing to earn the highest grade in class, Bisping absorbs the information with eyes and ears wide open.

Perhaps the fact that he likes his privacy during preparation says something about how important he views hard work. He’d rather get in the cage and do work than sit there and do what he referred to as “talk (expletive) for 10 minutes.”

As much as The Count has been made famous for his pre-fight talk, it’s the fighting that makes him who he is; the work that allows him to perform as well as he’s done before and after he won The Ultimate Fighter. Getting in the way of him doing his job may make for a grumpy middleweight, but has little effect on his determination. You can “Count” on that.


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