SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27: Michael Bisping of Great Britain exchanges words with the opposing corner after winning his fight against Jorge Rivera of the USA during their middleweight bout part of at UFC 127 at Acer Arena on February 27, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
UFC middleweight contender Michael Bisping landed an illegal knee to the face of opponent Jorge Rivera during their UFC 127 co-headliner bout. That blow possibly decided the outcome of the fight as Rivera was visibly diminished after getting a very brief pause to recover.
But it's Bisping's actions after the fight which included spitting at Rivera's cornerman that have him in hot water with UFC boss Dana White. Mike Chiappetta reports:
UFC middleweight contender Michael Bisping will face disciplinary action for his behavior following his UFC 127 win, UFC president Dana White told MMA Fighting.
White said he has yet to make a decision on whether Bisping will be fined and/or suspended for his actions, but confirmed that he will be subject to some punishment.
This is pretty rich.
On the one hand a big part of the UFC's marketing is the "class" and "respect" shown by the fighters toward one another, so it makes sense that Dana would want to do something to protect that franchise.
On the other hand, the UFC is always in short supply of compelling co-headliners like Bisping so don't be surprised if the tough punishment does not entail missing any paydays with the organization.
Bisping's actions divided fans and commenters. Our own Jonathan Snowden has been the most outspoken in support of Bisping:
Cage fighters are doing the ugly work as well. A bit of emotion is acceptable, even a little exciting. Bisping got it out of his system, recovered his cool, and apologized for his outburst. He's not a robot and after Rivera upped the ante on the fight, professionalism was out the window. Bisping's postfight rampage was the yin to Rivera's prefight antics yang. It's time to move on.
But Matt Bishop was likely the more representative of fan sentiment, finding Bisping's actions and words inexcusable:
Bisping's behavior is disgusting on all levels and needs to be addressed by the UFC before it potentially blows up in their face. Michael Bisping is a professional athlete. It's about time he starts acting like it.
Dana White has made a gesture to appease angry fans by announcing that he'll punish Bisping. He earlier "froze" middleweight star Chael Sonnen's contract after Sonnen pled guilty to a felony. We'll see if Dana White and the UFC feel as strongly about Michael Bisping's sins.