Michael Bisping has responded to Justin Gaethje’s accusation of biased commentary at UFC 286.
After outlasting Rafael Fiziev in Saturday’s co-main event at The O2 in London, Gaethje (24-4 MMA, 7-4 UFC) watched friend and teammate Kamaru Usman challenge welterweight champion Leon Edwards in the night’s headliner. Gaethje took issue with Bisping’s commentary, calling him unprofessional for allegedly showing bias in favor of his fellow Brit, Edwards, who defeated Usman by majority decision.
On Tuesday, Bisping addressed those claims in a video posted on his YouTube channel, refusing to take shots at Gaethje and simply chalking up his words to loyalty.
“Justin’s just being a loyal friend and a loyal teammate,” Bisping said. “When you’re watching a fight and you want your friend, your teammate to win, the good stuff that they do, in your mind, is emphasized. It is amplified. It is a bigger deal than what it is. And the stuff that the opponent does to your friend, you dismiss it. … That’s just the human mind. That’s how we work. When someone that we respect, when someone that’s our friend that we’re supporting, when they’re doing well, we amplify it in our mind. When anything bad happens, we play it down.
“So Justin firmly believes in his head that Kamaru won that fight. And because I said on the microphone afterwards, ‘Well, Leon clearly won that fight,’ which I thought that he did in a close fight – in a close fight. All the rounds were close. Leon didn’t smoke him in any of the rounds, but I thought generally Kamaru might’ve had one or two rounds. Maybe one, maybe two. I’d have to watch it again. But listen, Leon won the fight. But all rounds were close, and Justin is just being a good teammate.”
In the end, Bisping stands by his assessment of Edwards’ win over Usman and points to the general sentiment of the judges and observers who saw the fight the way he did. It’s nothing against the former champion.
“Listen, I’m not ripping on Kamaru,” Bisping said. “It was a very close fight, but Leon clearly won in my opinion, and the judges echoed that sentiment. And I think generally, universally everybody agrees. I haven’t seen any outcry of robbery or anything like that.”
Bisping also has the support of his colleagues Jon Anik and Daniel Cormier. Lead commentator and play-by-play man Anik came to Bisping’s defense, assuring everyone that the UFC Hall of Famer has no agenda when calling fights.
Cormier, who was the third man on the commentary desk Saturday, also spoke about the situation.
“I didn’t think he was being biased,” Cormier said on his YouTube channel. “People always call me bias. The reality is everybody has a little bit of that in them, but I thought he did a good job. …
“I thought Mike did a fantastic job as he always does.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 286.
Michael Bisping unbothered by Justin Gaethje claiming biased UFC 286 commentary: He’s ‘just being a loyal teammate’