Friday, March 9, 2007

The ‘Count’down with Michael Bisping - Week 4

By Michael "The Count" Bisping

I was very disappointed to read former world boxing champion Barry McGuigan’s weekly column in a British newspaper last Saturday.

As most of you will know, McGuigan lashed out at the UFC a few weeks ago in an interview - calling UFC fights ‘dirty’ and ‘undignified’ etc - and sadly, although he’s clearly done no research since then, he still chose to dedicate an entire column to ripping on the UFC last weekend.

While I’m not the slightest bit surprised McGuigan didn’t take me up on my earlier offer to come to the Wolf’s Lair gym and allow me to explain what mixed martial arts involves, I’m still very disappointed that he chose to rubbish the UFC for a second time using the same ignorant and offensive tone.

Sorry to be blunt, but some of the things he wrote were really stupid.

For example, he totally dismissed the grappling and submission aspects of the game as “rolling around” and then went on to state “take away the kick and (UFC fighters) would not stand a chance against a boxer”.

Basically, he’s saying a boxer is better at boxing than a MMA fighter is. Errr… yeah, that’s why it is “mixed martial arts“, Barry, and not “boxing”.

What really annoys me is that the average person on the street often doesn’t appreciate the skill level that is involved in world championship boxing. I’ve heard people say things like boxers just swing away until one of them drops - which is so ignorant. But McGuigan is equally ignorant to the skill, technique and finesse MMA fighters use in addition to using boxing techniques.

McGuigan wrote: “It takes years to develop competence in the (boxing) ring.” No argument there, but you can’t expect a MMA fighter to have the punching technique and power of a champion boxer, the legs of a Thai fighter, the wrestling of a Olympic freestyle grappler and the submissions of a BJJ expert.

Of course that’s the aim, but obviously it is impossible to be the very best in the world at all these disciplines at once. It would take you four lifetimes to become an expert in all these fighting techniques. That why no two MMA fighters have identical styles - we’re all at different levels at all these different techniques used in our sport.

Does Barry seriously think it is any easier or faster to learn the skills needed to compete in the UFC? Does he believe competitors in the Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling events in the Olympics just turn up on the day and have a go? Does he think any bloke off the street can defend a takedown from a world-class grappler? Does he think applying a triangle on a top class opponent is a technique you can learn during your coffee break? Like I say, he’s ignorant and obviously he’s got no intention of learning about this subject which clearly concerns him so much.

But the worst thing about the column was when McGuigan bragged about boxers’ punches landing with so much force they feel ‘like a sledgehammer’ compared to a punch landed in the Octagon.

There has never been a death or serious injury in the UFC and considering boxing suffers deaths in the ring almost every year, I just couldn’t believe McGuigan would use that sort of imagery to try and score a point on the UFC.

When he was in England the other week Dana White told me that the upcoming of the Ultimate Fighter, Season 5, is the best series of the lot.

I was a bit gutted by the news, to be honest, because I think that the series I was on - TUF 3 - was the best season so far.

Dana wouldn’t tell me any specifics but he did say the cast is completely off their heads and that the fights are awesome.

Considering some of the nutters I had to live with last year, I’m looking forward to it.

You may have heard that a certain TUF 3 dropout was calling me out last week.

To be honest, I really didn’t want to respond because that plays right into his hands by whipping up interest in a fight that I believe is a big step backwards for me.

However, at the same time I don’t want anyone thinking I was afraid of this guy, either.

The fighter in question - I forget his name - is a good wrestler but has no BJJ and couldn’t strike a match. He’s the one who produced the most embarrassingly amateurish performance of the entire season, where even though he won he couldn’t continue in the competition as he was so bashed up.

Do you know who I’m on about? I can picture his face but still can’t remember his name but I remember personally sending this novice to the hospital with a busted arm and my mate Kendall Grove - a middleweight - knocked him silly with a high kick in sparring.

I also recall that he went to the hospital three times during TUF 3 and each time came back to the TUF house with his tail between his legs. He spent more time in bandages than King Tut.

But, now, he’s shouting my name in an obvious attempt to leap frog from his preliminary bout status to genuine PPV level.

Sorry, pal, I won the TUF 3 three-year contract, thank you very much, so I don’t need a part time job running your PR office on the side.

I’ve got a long way to go and a lot to prove in the UFC but - in terms of what I did during my TUF 3 run - I don’t think I’m being big-headed when I say my run to the TUF 3 title was pretty damn conclusive.

I scored three consecutive knockouts without a scratch on me while this guy calling me out had one fight that looked like two drunks scrapping outside a kebab shop on a Friday night.

For him to claim I’ve yet to prove I’m the real TUF 3 winner is pathetic.

Until next week - the Count.

As told to Ant Evans

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