When Michael Bisping walked into the octagon to face Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 for the middleweight championship he was prepared to announce his retirement if he had lost.
“When I fought Luke in L.A. she (my wife) said, ‘if you win I want you to retire.’ I said, babe, if I lose then I’ll retire because, fair enough, I got my title shot. It didn’t go my way. It is what it is. I would have had closure on that. I said, but if I win you’re out of your (expletive) mind if you think I’m going to retire. Come on. I’m the champion of the world. I’ve got to milk it a little bit and finally earn some decent paydays. It all worked out,” said Bisping while appearing on the JRE MMA Show.
Bisping knocked out Rockhold in the first round after accepting the fight on short notice when Rockhold’s original opponent, Chris Weidman, was forced out of the fight 18 days before the event. “The Count” fought three more times before officially retiring after his knockout loss to Kelvin Gastelum in November 2017.
Bisping appeared on and won the third season of The Ultimate Fighter. He fought 29 times in the UFC and captured the middleweight crown. He had nothing left to prove, but it was injury that caused him to step away from fighting.
Bisping suffered an eye injury during his knockout loss to Vitor Belfort in January 2013 that left him with a detached retina. Over time his eyesight deteriorated leaving him legally blind in his right eye. Bisping has 20/200 vision but continued to fight against his doctor’s wishes. Combatants must have uncorrected visual acuity of 20/200 or better in each eye to compete in combat sports. In all of his fights since the loss to Belfort, Bisping was essentially fighting with one eye.
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When the Brit began having issues with his “good eye,” he knew it was time to close the curtain on his fighting career.
“I started having issues with my good eye as well after the Gastelum fight. I was like, this isn’t worth it,” he said. “The reason I retired was the Gastelum fight.”
“I was cleared to fight but the doctors always said we don’t recommend it because if anything happens to your good eye you’re going to be in a real problem,” Bisping explained.
After the knockout loss, Bisping noticed flashes in his peripheral vision when he looked to the left. He feared the worst and immediately went to see a doctor after arriving home. Fortunately, he didn’t suffer another detached retina, but he did have a partial vitreous detachment.
Vitreous is a gel-like substance that fills most of the eye. Within the vitreous there are millions of fibers connected to the retina. The fibers became partially detached which isn’t eye-sight threatening but could lead to a detached retina. Bisping’s had five surgeries on his right eye but hasn’t required treatment on his “good eye.”
“After that I said (expletive) this. It ain’t worth it,” he said. “For me, it was a step too far. I pushed it as far as I was willing to push.”