Michael Bisping was once a wanted man on the streets of Miami.
‘The Count’ had made a sworn enemy of Jorge Masvidal after ripping up an image the Cuban flag during Yoel Romero’s title fight vs. Robert Whittaker at UFC 213. Here’s the thing: Masvidal and Romero are longtime teammates at American Top Team (ATT) and both men take their Cuban heritage very seriously.
Things only further escalated between Bisping and Masvidal when both men crossed paths backstage at UFC 217 and had to be separated by security.
Since then, however, Bisping and Masvidal have developed a mutual respect for each other and Bisping can’t help but laugh at how silly their rivalry actually was in hindsight.
“It’s absolutely hilarious,” Bisping said about his rivalry with Masvidal in an interview with MMA Fighting. “Because a few years ago, I couldn’t stand that guy, and I’m pretty sure he was trying to f*cking have me stabbed or something if I ever went to Miami. You know what happened, what went down, it all stems from that thing with Yoel [where I tore a Cuban flag in half].
“I’ve got nothing against Cubans, I’ve never been to Cuba, I don’t know anything about Cuba, but I’m fighting Yoel Romero, he’s talking sh*t’ and there’s a Cuban flag in a cocktail sitting in front of me. What’s Michael Bisping the fighter going to do? There you go.”
“So that all started from there. We went back and forth, and he was shooting me all sorts of sh*t on f*cking Instagram and what not, and he was fighting Darren Till. A buddy of mine had a fight [on the card], and he was in the workout room the night before the weigh-ins, and we’re walking down the hallway, there’s like four of us and they’re all big guys. We’re walking down a dark corridor and there’s someone walking towards us and I didn’t know it was Masvidal. Whoever it was stood on the other side of the wall to let us by, and I saw it was Masvidal.
“I stopped, put my hand out and said ‘good luck, Jorge,’ and I think he thought I was going to be an assh*le because I was there with my friends and all that sh*t had happened, but I’m not going to do that. He’s got a big fight the next day. I’m not that guy. I just said, ‘Hey Jorge, good luck buddy,’ and he took that and he was respectful. He was like ‘Mike, you could have been a d*ck there, but you didn’t, and I respect that,’ and we’ve been good ever since.”
In fact, not only is Bisping now on good terms with Masvidal but the former UFC middleweight champion has become a huge fan of ‘Gamebred’ since his three-fight tear in 2019.
“When you meet somebody under different circumstances, like somebody who has been your enemy, if you met them in a different way you could be friends,” Bisping said. “Like Luke Rockhold. I always said if Daniel Cormier can be such good friends with Luke Rockhold, he can’t be that bad of a guy. But we’re just rivals, so we’re not meant to like each other.
“But since then, [Jorge] has been awesome. How can you not be a fan of what he did last year? How can you not be a fan of what he did to Till, [Ben] Askren and then [Nate] Diaz. The way he’s handled himself the last year is just cool as f*ck. I wish him nothing but the best.”
Masvidal is expected to return to the Octagon later this year to challenge Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title.