There will be no swan song for Michael Bisping.
After flirting with the possibility of a farewell fight over the past few months, the former UFC middleweight champion announced his retirement on his “Believe You Me” podcast Monday.
“Obviously I’ve teased this for a long time now. I might fight again, I might not. Unfortunately, there’s not a fight that I’m announcing,” Bisping said. “I am going to announce my official retirement from mixed martial arts.”
The 39-year-old Englishman hasn’t competing since being finished twice in a three-week span this past November in losses to Georges St. Pierre and Kelvin Gastelum. Bisping, who suffered a detached retina in his right eye earlier in his career, said he began experiencing issues with his left eye following the loss to Gastelum at UFC Fight Night 122 on Nov. 25.
“You can’t do it forever. I’ve done it for a long time. Of course, I’ve got issues with my eye. After the Gastelum fight, I started having issues with my good eye, which I’ve never spoken about before,” he said.
“After the Gastelum fight I went to a party afterwards with all my team and friends that had flown in to watch. We went to a club, and because it’s dark, I just kept seeing this flash out of the corner of my good eye. I just kept looking….then I realize, there’s no flash, it’s just my eye. Every time I looked left, it flashes. It still does it now when it’s dark.”
Bisping went to see a doctor shortly thereafter and was told that he had a vitreous detachment in his left eye. Although a vitreous detachment doesn’t usually threaten one’s sight, it can occasionally lead to a detached retina. Even with that knowledge, Bisping had toyed with the possibility of competing at UFC Fight Night London or UFC Fight Night Liverpool for one last sendoff, even against the wishes of those close to him.
“So I said I was going to be done fighting, but I did contemplate another fight in London,” he said. “That never happened. Probably a good thing. Everybody told me not to fight. I was actually negotiating with the UFC to fight Rashad Evans in London. It’s probably a good thing that never happened.”
Bisping became the first British fighter to win a UFC title when he knocked out Luke Rockhold to claim 185-pound gold at UFC 199. He defended the belt once against Dan Henderson before relinquishing the strap against St. Pierre at UFC 217. “The Ultimate Fighter 3” winner compiled a 20-9 record in the Octagon, earning wins over the likes of Anderson Silva, Cung Le, Brian Stann, Alan Belcher and Chris Leben. “The Count” went 30-9 over the course of a pro career that began in 2004.