Just minutes after his win over Alan Belcher at UFC 159, Michael Bisping revealed that he will soon go under the knife to repair a neck condition.
“I have a trapped nerve, and it’s called atrophy, which is muscle loss, weakness and numbness in my right arm,” Bisping told Fox Sports following his win at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. “I’ve had that for a while, but it’s progressively getting worse. I saw a surgeon about six weeks before this fight, but there was no way I was going to pull out. I fought Vitor Belfort, Brian Stann and Chael Sonnen with this condition. I don’t like to let the UFC down, and I love what I do.
“I’m going to have surgery now. The surgery isn’t scheduled, but we’ve talked about it. It’s a minor thing. Well, it’s neck surgery, so as minor as that can be, but it’s a routine procedure. Apparently I’ll only be out two or three weeks, and then I’ll be back in the gym. I want to get back in the Octagon as soon as possible.”
Bisping proved to be one step ahead of Belcher in Saturday night’s middleweight co-main event, continually beating “The Talent” to the punch, especially in rounds two and three. Belcher, by contrast, slowed as the fight went on. While the American exchanged with the Brit on relatively even terms in the fight’s first five minutes, Belcher soon found himself absorbing crisp combinations as time waned.
“Without sounding arrogant, that’s what I was planning for, of course. He’s a big middleweight, and I believed I had the speed advantage going in. I think that was obvious tonight,” said Bisping. “I don’t know if I noticed him out of shape, I just noticed I was finding a rhythm more and feeling more comfortable in the fight. As it went on, I could time him, and there was a big difference in the speed. I could see his punches coming a mile away. I could read every move he was making.”
Though Bisping dominated the bout’s final two stanzas, the fight nevertheless ended on an accidental foul, as Bisping inadvertently gouged Belcher in the same eye afflicted by a detached retina more than two years ago. After “The Talent” was deemed unable to continue, the cage-side judges awarded Bisping a technical decision. While the leadup to the middleweight clash was marked by a bevy of trash talk on both sides, Bisping said he genuinely regrets the way the fight ended extended.
“It was a shame I caught him with my thumb there at the end,” said Bisping. “He did get me as well, and I’ve got a little nick [on the bridge of my nose]. It’s an unfortunate business, the eye pokes, but it happens. I don’t think it affected the fight, but I apologized because it was a complete accident.
“Alan is a hell of a performer. Going into this fight there was a lot of talk, but I’ve got nothing but respect for the guy. That’s just me trying to get myself in the zone and ensure a good performance. He’s been around a long time, and he’s a solid opponent. I had to do what I needed to get myself in the right place and make him doubt himself. It’s a huge mental game, and that’s all I was doing. I’m sure he’ll continue to have a great career.”