The history of professional fighting is littered with hard luck stories. Kids who grew up poor, in broken homes, under difficult circumstances. Men and women who turned the anger and difficulty of their circumstances into discipline and training to become top shelf professional combat sports athletes.
In fact, at this point, the story is so ubiquitous that it’s in danger of becoming a cliche. To the extent that even ex-UFC champ Michael Bisping is arguing that fighters who didn’t come up struggling deserve a little extra credit for still being driven to enter the life of a pro fighter.
Bisping sat down for a recent episode of Damon Martin’s The Fighter vs. The Writer podcast, where the discussion swung to the upcoming boxing match between former UFC welterweight king Tyron Woodley and former Disney star & YouTube personality Jake Paul. There the ‘Count’ gave Paul a lot of credit for dedicating himself to the fight game.
“For Jake Paul, he’s a guy who was a Disney star and then he’s got into boxing apparently,” Bisping explained. “He’s got a massive following. I think a lot of people are quick to doubt him, quick to write him off, although I do think he’s dispelling that myth a little bit and people are starting to come on board.”
“Typically as a fighter when you get into combat sports, most fighters if you look at their history, they come from some kind of struggle when they were younger,” he added. “Whether that’s an abusive family or coming from poverty or whatever it was, typically there’s always that struggle. This is all we have. We take our fighting skill, we were probably getting into scraps on the streets and things like that. We realize we can fight and we turn that into a living and hopefully turn things around. That’s normally the case.
“That doesn’t mean it has to be the case. There’s no prerequisite in combat sports that you have to come from a disadvantaged background. You can’t hate on Jake Paul for what he’s doing in fights. If anything, you’ve got to respect him even more.”
The longtime middleweight even went on to give a defense of Paul’s level of competition, saying that the Askren fight in particular was “genius matchmaking.” And as for the upcoming booking against Woodley, while Bisping is pulling for Woodley, “Jake Paul’s going to get the job done.”
Bisping himself has been at the center of the recent wave of celebrity boxing discussions, with call-outs from Dillon Danis and even an offer from Paul himself.
“I got offered a contract…It wasn’t enough money,” Bisping told LowKickMMA back in May. “They made an offer and it was some decent cash. But, if I’m going to make a fool out of myself by boxing a YouTuber, then I’d want a bit more for it. I’m not going to come out of retirement, but that’s essentially free money to me. If the number was big enough, then I’d be a fool not to go and pick up that money.”