With Michael Bisping Sidelined, UFC May Make Interim Title Fight

May 19, 2017

With UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping still not recovered from a knee injury, UFC officials are considering an interim middleweight title fight for this summer.

Bisping was initially slated to put his belt on the line against returning former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. UFC president Dana White had been hopeful the fight would happen at UFC 213 on July 8 in Las Vegas. That possibility slid away and then St-Pierre said he wouldn’t be ready to fight until at least November.

At that point, White said that he decided to scrap the fight altogether and would put Bisping up against No. 1 contender Yoel Romero.

Following that statement, Bisping revealed on his podcast that his knee injury still hadn’t fully healed and he would rather continue to wait for St-Pierre than to fight Romero.

It has now been more than seven months since Bisping last defended the belt. If he isn’t going to be ready to fight this summer, White told ESPN that he is considering an interim title fight between Romero and No. 3 ranked Robert Whittaker.

“We’re trying to put together that Bisping-Romero fight,” White said. “If [Bisping] can’t fight this summer, we’ll probably create an interim title between Romero and Robert Whittaker.”

Romero (13-1) is riding an eight-fight winning streak in which he has knocked out six of his opponents. He has been waiting in the wings for Bisping since November, but has said that he’d be willing to fight if the UFC put an interim belt on the line.

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If he gets his wish, Romero will likely face Whittaker (18-4), who is in the midst of a seven-fight winning streak, and is undefeated in his six fights since moving up to middleweight. He is coming off of a TKO stoppage of former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, someone that even Romero was unable to finish.

Even though Bisping said he would want to wait for St-Pierre, there are now no guarantees that fight will happen. White hasn’t publicly delved deep into the matter, but told ESPN that when St-Pierre is ready to return, he was now likely to face whomever holds the UFC welterweight title at the time. Tyron Woodley is the current titleholder.

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  • Hurthle

    Of course he’d rather fight GSP. Yoel will beat the snot out of him and take the belt.

  • Johnny Sanchez

    I knew Bisping would be crying hurt. Fight an easy matchup and make a ton of money or fight an animal, get your butt kicked, lose the belt and not make so much money…

  • DieselChadron

    game, set, match: Rockhold

    finally, ufc found an ounce of sensibility.

  • Rainier Carlsen

    It’s to bad Yoel has a history of fighting dirty. I can’t get behind him, I still think Souza beat him, or at least should have with all the times Yoel Romero grabbed the fence, and has cheated in the past, yet miraculously never has a point deducted. For him, point deductions should happen at the first “cheat” in a fight, instead of a warning.

    But Bisping, this totally looks like he is dodging the fight, even though I know Bisping could kick any one of us commenters ass, that is beside the point, that he is all ready to go against GSP, but now is still recovering when Romero’s name pops up.

    • deepgrim

      yep it was well and good fighting gsp and saying if it takes too long, he would fight romero instead- now he has completely went back on that statement. I actually think he has a chance against romero- romero is a bit overhyped, from what i remember jacare should have got that decision and he beat yoel in the stand up, whitaker should have a good chance against yoel too should they make that fight

  • wayjohn

    Why is it not a surprise Bisping is hurt. It time for Uncle Dana to grow a pair and make Bisping fight the #1 contender or forfeit the title.

    • uncle

      If he’s injured and not gone for long term there’s no reason to strip him.

  • macarrech

    I knew it. What a coward. He should be stripped and give him the chance to fight the champion when he comes back. I bet that if thats the case hes knee will miraculously heals.

    • uncle

      How’s is Bisping a coward if he’s injured? A coward is calling a professional fighter names behind a keyboard. If you follow the sport Bisping said he wanted more time to heal even when was suppose to fight GSP.

      • Murdock

        Bisping is full of excuses.

        • uncle

          It’s not a excuses if he’s injured.

          • Murdock

            He’s just using injuries as an excuse to avoid fight the top middleweights. It ain’t rocket science. It’s all he’s been doing since he won the title.

          • uncle

            Now you’re coming off as a dumbass, he can’t use it for an excuse if it’s an injury
            Don’t you know UFC have
            doctors that check to see if
            the fighter can be cleared to fight ? And you’re saying he’s been avoiding fights,how ?UFC books the fights not Bisping.

          • Murdock

            i’m sounding like a dumbass? lmfao.

            you’re the sheep who thinks Bisping is a legitimate champion. this is the same guy who refused to rematch Rockhold in a rubber fight, the same guy who said he’ll fight Romero but makes excuses to avoid fighting him time and time again, defended his title against a washed up and retired Hendo instead of a real contender

          • uncle

            Bisping don’t owe Rockhold sh*t he got KO with his first title defense what
            a joke. It’s not like he was on a good run like Anderson,then a rubber match would make sense. Again Hendo vs Bisping was booked by the UFC not Bisping for some reason you’re too biased to understand so
            it’s pointless to talk to you conversation over.

          • Murdock

            He owes Rockhold a rubber match for that fluke KO otherwise he’s just a coward and a fraud. As for Hendo, Bisping specifically asked for Hendo for his first title defence rather than a top 5 contender. This is the same guy who said he’d rather fight Uriah Hall of all people (a guy who isn’t even in the top 10) after he gets thru with GSP

          • TheCerealKiller

            You’re both wrong. At that time, Hendo was one of the only guys available. All the top guys were already committed to other fights, so instead of sitting on the shelf a few more months, they gave Hendo a retirement present. Dana wasn’t going to give Rockhold the rematch after embarrassing himself.

          • Murdock

            Hendo didn’t deserve a title shot and wasn’t even a contender. How the f**k did he warrant a title shot when the champion has to face the best in the division? Rockhold pulled out of the rematch with Jacare thus leaving Souza available to fight. Bisping is a man of a million excuses and avoided him as well.

          • TheCerealKiller

            Of course he didn’t deserve a title shot. It has nothing to do with Bisping and everything to do with making money. People would have loved to see Hendo KO him again, but it didn’t happen.

          • Murdock

            No, Bisping specifically asked to fight Hendo because he was chickenshit to fafeba real top contender. It was shortly after he started talking about “money fights”.

      • Blobbejaan Blob

        “How’s is Bisping a coward if he’s injured? A coward is calling a professional fighter names behind a keyboard.”

        excellent comment

  • Zang Li

    bisping = pv$$y… the whole world called it.

  • Trevor

    Bisping -I am healthy enough to fight GSP but if he cant make it till fall I will not wait I will fight Romero.

    Bisping-GSP is not ready oh ok I am happy to wait for him.

    Bisping -OH Dana pulled the GSP fight and now I have to fight Romero? I am hurt!

    UFC getting dumber everyday by not forcing theses guys hands. As I always say-eliminate interim belts and make champs fight in a timely manner or vacate!

    • El Gvapo

      Or alternatively Bisping would have fought GSP if he wasn’t 100% healthy. As soon as GSP bailed then of course Bisping was going to wait, he’d be a fool not to. Make x fighting Romero or make triple if you wait for GSP, every one of us would do the same. You can’t blame the fighter in that position, the blame is solely with the ufc.

  • Edward Lawless

    Really , he can’t fight Romero ? So GSP was an easy paycheck (a huge one at that) but Romero is a beast (possibly the best in the world right know). Bisping isn’t as dumb as I thought he was but this is silly. He really wants that cash (can’t totally blame him though). Bisping is a great fighter coming to the end of his career (might as well cash in and I think he will or could have destroyed GSP (to much of a natural size difference in my opinion)