Just 19 days after losing the UFC Middleweight Championship to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217, Michael Bisping stepped in as a last-minute replacement for Anderson Silva when he fought Kelvin Gastelum in Shanghai. Gastelum finished the fight in emphatic fashion, knocking the former champion out with a devastating left hand in the first round. Many people felt that Bisping should not have been cleared to fight so soon after taking heavy damage and being choked unconscious in his last fight – including top middleweight contender, Yoel Romero.
“You know, that was the big surprise,” Romero said on a recent episode of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. “Why? It’s so crazy, it doesn’t make sense. I don’t know how the athletic commission said yes and accepted that he [Bisping] would fight. It’s so crazy, it’s so crazy.”
Bisping was initially suspended for 30 days by the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC), but he was deemed fit to compete by doctors prior to the UFC‘s event in Shanghai and the suspension was reduced. The UFC brass was also involved in the decision, as China does not have its own athletic commission, so the promotion had to act as its own governing body in this situation. Romero brought the UFC into question, along with Bisping’s friends and family:
“I don’t know how the family, the relatives of Michael Bisping allowed him to fight […] I don’t know why the team, the coaches said, ‘OK, take the fight.’
“I don’t know why Michael Bisping took the fight. I don’t know why the UFC said yes. This is very dangerous, it’s not just a fight, it’s very dangerous. Normally, he needed rest for like 16 to 19 days, you know. But he’s sleeping, he didn’t tap out, he went to sleep (vs GSP). When that happens in a fight, like a choke or knockout, you need a rest, like a minimum of 16 days.”
While no one can take Gastelum‘s stunning performance and highlight reel knockout away from him, many people (including Yoel Romero) believe that fatigue caused by a lack of rest time between fights was a large factor in Bisping‘s devastating loss because “[…] he didn’t go through the [recuperation] and rest that he needed.”
What do you guys think? Were the NYSAC and UFC right to clear Bisping for the fight? Or did they put the former champion in danger by letting him fight so soon after a brutal fight with GSP? Let us know what you have to say on Facebook and Twitter.