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Dana White Almost Forced UFC Legend to Retire

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Michael Bisping, regarded as one of the UK’s best-ever middleweight fighters, was almost forced to leave the UFC after suffering a devastating injury. Born in the British military base of Nicosia, Cyprus, and growing up in Lancashire, Bisping became the first man from the UK to win a title in the promotion after flooring Luke Rockhold in a middleweight bout.

The Curious Case of Bisping’s Eye

He won the middleweight title in 2016 and defended the belt just once before losing it to George St Pierre, who had just returned from a 4-year layoff. Michael Bisping was also the first person from the UK to participate in a UFC main event.

Bisping’s career in the UFC was nearly short-lived after suffering a horrific injury against Victor Belfort in 2013. The British international got knocked down with a head kick and punches that eventually damaged the retina in his right eye, a story he will always live to tell.

Bisping, in a recent interview, revealed he disagreed with Dana White’s disclosure of his slim chances in the promotion and instead obtained medical clearance to allow him to continue in the division. He returned to the octagon months later, but finally conceded to taking a sabbatical from the sport on the advice of the UFC chief and the medical staff.

“I didn’t think it was the end of the road, I was certainly shocked at that moment in time, Dana’s been a great friend to me over the years, so I knew he was coming at it from several different angles. He was like ‘Mike, let’s cut straight to the chase. You’re never gonna fight again.’ I was trying to fight back the tears because that was my life. It was tough, but I didn’t know what to think. I went and spoke to a doctor and they confirmed what Dana said, but they also gave me a glimmer of hope at the same time. On very rare occasions, they said they have seen people’s vision improve.”

Bisping also admitted to experiencing depression as he was banned from physical exercise and confined himself to sitting and watching television: “You’ve only got to be cleared 20/200 vision, which is still clinically blind,” he added. “If it only improved a tiny bit, I’d still be able to fight again… I used to go the doctor’s every week for a check up. I was told I couldn’t do anything to get my heart rate up, because if my heart rate went up that could affect the healing in the eye. So on doctor’s orders, I had to sit on the couch, drink beer and watch Sopranos for a year.”

He finally returned to the sport and became one of the oldest fighters to win a UFC title, and was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2019. Clearly, his eye injury did not impact him, as two eyes or not, he is an all-time great in the sport.

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