Michael Bisping may be an actor now, however, his past as a mixed martial artist has continued to serve as a source of inspiration and motivation for every budding British UFC fighter out there. Bisping, as at 2018, became the first Brit to compete in UFC’s main event and also the only one to have won it.
He spent most of his fighting career in the middleweight division of the UFC. He has also won other titles such as the Cage Rage Light Heavyweight Championship and The Ultimate Fighter 3 Championship for the Light Heavyweight division. Since retiring his fighting gloves, Bisping has appeared in a few movies, most notably in 2017’s XXX: Return of Xander Cage.
Michael Bisping’s Bio
The former UFC Champion was born into a military household and to a military father, Jan Bisping. He was born on February 28, 1979, in a military camp in Nicosia, Cyprus. However, his childhood years were spent at Clitheroe, Lancashire. Michael attended St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic High School in Billington.
Before this time, young Michael had already shown an interest in the art of fighting and had started taking Jujutsu classes when he was eight years old. Bisping participated as an amateur in his first “no holds barred” competition in 1994. He was just 15 years old at the time.
After he turned 18, Michael grew disenchanted with the world of martial arts and walked away to pursue real life. However, he returned less than a year later and started taking boxing, kickboxing, and karate classes. At the time, the owner of Black Knights kickboxing, Alan Clarkin took him under his wings.
Bisping spent a little time as a kickboxer and won the North West Area title and subsequently, the Pro British title for the Light Heavyweight Kickboxing Division. He would win the latter a second time around after coming back from a brief hiatus that started sometime in 1998. Michael left the sport again and spent some years working in different roles as a butcher, factory worker, demolitions personnel, postman, salesman and a myriad of other roles.
Professional MMA Career
Michael started off his professional MMA career in 2004 with a bang, killing off his debut opponent Steve Matthews via submission in just 38 seconds. His second fight was his first knockout victory and his third saw him clinch the Cage Rage Light Heavyweight title in a TKO win over Mark Epstein.
A year after his professional debut, he recorded a victory over Dave Radford that saw him take the Cage Warriors Light Heavyweight title that was vacant at the time. He also picked up the FX3 light-heavyweight title two months later in June 2005 and lost it in September of the same year after the title was taken from him by Cage Rage promotion.
As part of the UFC’s reality TV series The Ultimate Fighter 3, Michael Bisping, training under Tito Ortiz, became only the second winner of the TV series Light Heavyweight title when he defeated Josh Haynes in two rounds.
After a loss to Rashad Evans, Michale decided to drop down to the middleweight category. This move saw an immediate improvement in his career record. Bisping recorded wins against the likes of Charles McCarthy, Jason Day, and Chris Leben.
Michael Bisping returned for the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter reality series. He co-hosted the season with fellow fighter Dan Henderson. After the show, at UFC 100, Bisping recorded his first ever knockout loss to Henderson. The former light heavyweight suffered from a mild case of amnesia following the loss. Michael reprised the role of a coach in 2011 on The Ultimate Fighter 14 with Jason Miller. He went on to gain a TKO victory over Miller in three rounds at the finale of the show on December 3, 2011.
What Happened To His Eye?
The year 2013 started on a sour note for the Brit. On January 13, Bisping suffered a freak injury which quickly became one of the most famous injuries in UFC history. In the second round of a game against Vitor Belfort, he suffered retinal detachment to his right eye after he sustained a kick to the head.
Michael Bisping refused to see a doctor for fear that the results of the medical visit would end his fighting career. He continued to compete but eventually opted to go under the knife as the symptoms of his eye injury became too bad to compete with. His surgery kept him away from competition for nearly a year, however, the resilient fighter returned in a fight against Tim Kennedy on April 16, 2014.
Since then Bisping has lived with a condition known as strabismus. This basically means that his eyes are not properly aligned whenever he is focused on an object.
In August 2014, Bisping received his first Performance of the Night bonus award in a TKO victory over Cung Le. In the following years, he has continued to rack up wins and a few losses. He has faced the likes of Luke Rockhold, C.B. Dollaway, and Thales Leites. In December 2016, he recorded a unanimous decision victory against Anderson Silva and both fighters were bestowed with Fight of the Night honors.
With just 17 days to prepare, Michael faced then-UFC Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold in a title matchup in June 2016. He knocked him out in the first round to clinch the title, becoming the first UFC Champion from Britain. He eventually lost it to Georges St-Pierre on November 4, 2017, via technical submission.
In May 2018, Michael Bisping walked away from martial arts for the last time, calling time on his professional MMA career.
Michael’s Acting Portfolio
While Michael was still active in the MMA, he landed his first role in a major film in 2016. He played the role of a character named Hawk in the 2017 xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. Before this, however, he had already made minor appearances in 2014’s comedy-crime film Plastic, and in the television series Strike Back in 2015.
In 2017, Michael Bisping also appeared in Dark Matter, Twin Peaks, and My Name is Lenny. In January 2018, Den of Thieves was released, a movie in which he played a minor part alongside the likes of Gerard Butler and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. He also played a role in another 2018 movie titled Triple Threat.
Family: Wife, Kids, Son
The former UFC champion met his wife Rebecca Bisping (formerly Sidwick) in Manchester. The couple only tied the knot in 2014, however, they have been together for a long time as evidenced by the ages of their three children. Michael and his Australian wife got married in an unmistakably UFC inspired wedding. The ceremony was even anchored by UFC announcer Bruce Buffer. They have three children, two sons Callum and Lucas, and one daughter, Ellie.
Body Stats: Height and Weight
The kickboxing professional doesn’t really cast a figure any more imposing than that of most of his MMA contemporaries. He stands at a height of 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) and maintains a body weight of 84 kg (185 lbs). During his time as a fighter, Michael had a reach of 75.5 inches (192 cm).