Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping regretted taking the last fight of his career against Kelvin Gastelum, and he feared he was going to be fully blind because of the contest.
Bisping (30-9) won the UFC middleweight title by knocking out Luke Rockhold on just two weeks notice, which was the upset of the year in 2016. “The Count” defended his title against Dan Henderson at UFC 204, but lost it to Georges St-Pierre in his fight after that at UFC 217.
Talking to Submission Radio, Bisping explained why he regretted fighting Gastelum just three weeks after his title loss to “GSP.”
“It certainly impacted my fight career,” Bisping said. “My depth perception was pretty much nonexistent. So, people always say, ‘How did you fight with pretty much one eye?’ And I always say the same answer: With great difficulty. And it was very difficult. ... In hindsight, I guess it was a blessing in disguise, because in 2013 I got all these troubles, and this is where it all started to happen, and then I knew I was on borrowed time.”
Bisping wasn’t even scheduled to face Gastelum at UFC Shanghai. He was already facing 30-day medical suspension from his loss to St-Pierre, but that was waived after clearance from a doctor. The Brit only fought because Gastelum’s original opponent, Anderson Silva, failed a drug test meaning the main event was in jeopardy.
“Anderson Silva failed a steroid test and Kelvin Gastelum needed another opponent,” Bisping said. “I was over-trained for GSP, and I was like, screw it, whatever, it is what it is, I’ll fly out there, get another payday. So, I went out there. So, listen, money’s one thing and legacy is another. You can’t buy a legacy. So, I do regret doing that Kelvin Gastelum fight, because I had no business doing that.
“So, the conditions weren’t right. But there was a lot of money on the table, but I knew I was almost done.”
He says he repeatedly saw a “flashing light” moments after the loss, and feared he was going to go completely blind.
“I started panicking. And I was like, holy shit, I don’t believe this, I’ve got a detached retina in my good eye. And I started emotional, in a night club,” he shared. “I’ve had a couple of drinks, but I’m like, f—k, I’m thinking I’m gonna go blind. Cause if they could have fixed the eye, it’s gonna be a few weeks while the surgery repairs, so I’m gonna be blind at least for a little bit, and that’s a terrifying thought to have, to actually think you’ll go blind.
His one good eye suffered a vitreous detachment from the bout. It wasn’t as bad as he initially thought, but knowing the risks, he decided to hang up his gloves.