The third round of the UFC Fight Night headliner between Michael Bisping and Anderson Silva was easily the bout’s most controversial frame.
According to UFC President Dana White, virtually all parties involved probably could have handled what transpired at the end of that period differently.
Bisping, who had been controlling the middleweight clash up until that point, became vulnerable after losing his mouthguard late in the stanza. Instead of protecting himself and continuing to fight, “The Count” lobbied for a break in the action, which allowed Silva to seize momentum.
“Bisping was way too concerned about his mouthpiece,” White said in an interview on UFC Fight Pass. “Anderson Silva pours it on, he hits him with the knee and... boom.”
That flying knee sent Bisping crumpling to the canvas mere seconds before the final horn sounded. Silva then walked off, thinking the fight was over. As chaos ensued in the cage, Silva climbed atop the Octagon in premature celebration mode. White believes that the former middleweight king might have had enough time to finish Bisping had he kept fighting.
“Walkoff knockouts are awesome. Make sure the fight is over,” White said. “I still haven’t seen exactly what happened, but he hit him with the knee, then walked away. Herb Dean stopped the fight and then the bell rang. If [Silva] could have jumped on top of him he could have finished the fight. He did not. He tried to walk away. It’s crazy.
White was not pleased that it took longer than normal to clear the Octagon between the third and fourth rounds. Some of that falls on Dean, the UFC boss said.
“That’s the thing. He was up on the Octagon celebrating the win, and everybody is screaming, ‘The fight isn’t over.’ And the commission is pulling the guys out…I don’t know why they were allowed to come in anyway,” White said. “It was crazy. Obviously we’ve never seen that happen before.
“It started to get a little out of hand there, [Dean] got it back,” White continued. “He should have kept a little more control of guys going inside the Octagon when the fight’s not over. But it was the end of the round, so guys were coming in to do the corner work. Thank God it held together. What a weird night.”
While Bisping ultimately survived to win a unanimous decision, White saw the action differently than the those scoring cageside, although that could change upon further review.
“I have to watch it again, there was so much craziness going on after the fight, but I believe that I had it even going into the fifth round... and I thought that Anderson Silva won [the fifth round],” White said.