Current UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping loves to point out how many of his former opponents were on steroids. It’s almost as if he takes pride in his collection of PED-using opponents. Let us take a look at Michael’s impressive collection together, as we detail who used what when they fought him. Of course, we’re only including the fighters that either, failed a test after the fight or were widely known to have been using something. If we listen to Nick and Nate Diaz, we may as well write a book on it since “everyone’s on steroids”. Let’s go ahead and take a look.
Michael Bisping originally fought Dan Henderson back in 2009 at UFC 100. Unfortunately for him, he got hit with one of the hardest punches in MMA history, the “H-bomb”. Bisping went viral for all the wrong reasons as the knockout, along with the follow-up punch, became part every MMA highlight imaginable. Henderson, however, was knowingly taking the (then legal at the time) PED “TRT”. Testosterone-replacement-therapy was banned a few years later but remains a factor to consider when thinking back on Henderson’s legendary career.
Where to even start with this one… Chael Sonnen has never hidden the fact that he was on “TRT” and has always hinted he was on other “good stuff”. Sonnen fought Bisping back in 2011 where he beat “The Count” by a controversial unanimous decision. Sonnen failed a drug test after the first Anderson Silva fight and was later suspended for two years after he popped hot yet again.
Our last fighter to beat Bisping while on “TRT” goes to the “TRT” “poster boy” himself, Vitor Belfort. Back in 2013, every single one of Vitor’s fights looked eerily similar, a beautiful head kick followed by punches, leading to an unconscious opponent. The fight against Bisping went down exactly like that, as Bisping took a shin to the dome followed by a few punches. Bisping claims this fight is the reason why he suffered a detached retina, and now has a discolored eye.
Alright, enough with the “TRT”, let’s take a look at the more exotic stuff. Chris Leben wasn’t quite as lucky as our first three, he was beaten by Bisping via unanimous decision, and banned a few months after testing positive for “Stanozolol”. Bisping’s PED collection started with Leben back in 2008. Leben had no excuses for the failed test and the UFC were forced to ban him.
Fighter turned actor Cung Le (Cung Leh as Michael would pronounce it) has had quite the career in MMA. Often seen as a pioneer of Strikeforce, Le made his way into the UFC back in 2011 before calling it a career in 2014. Le was beaten quite viciously by Bisping back in 2014, where Bisping TKO’d him via knees and punches. Le would fail a drug test right after the fight, he tested positive for elevated levels of HGH (human growth hormone). This one is quite tricky as Le claimed the UFC mishandled the sample, as well as the drug test coming minutes after the fight, which he claims played a part in the elevated levels. The UFC would go on to rescind the suspension, but Le would never return to MMA.
Wanderlei Silva serves as an honorable mention simply because he never tested positive for a banned substance, however, that’s in large part due to the fact that he, quite literally, ran from drug testers following the fight. Silva fought Bisping in his middleweight debut and walked away the winner, via unanimous decision.
Anderson Silva joins the list as an honorable mention due to the fact that he never tested positive after fighting Bisping, but rather, because he tested positive before. After Silva’s fight with Nick Diaz, he tested positive for both “Drostanolone” and “Androsterone”. Silva blamed the failed test on Viagra he obtained from a friend. Bisping would go on to beat Silva by unanimous decision, back in February 2016.
Refereeing’s Loss is Bellator’s Gain
When former Bellator color commentator Jimmy Smith left the organization last week, not many expected MMA veteran referee, John McCarthy, to be his replacement. There is little doubt that McCarthy will make an excellent color analyst. However, it’s hard not to be disappointed that the sport is losing one of the best and most experienced referees.
McCarthy has been part of the fabric of MMA and the UFC in particular, since 1993. He was hugely influential in creating and enforcing the rules of the cage that have changed MMA into the respected sport it is today. Back in early to mid-nineties, the ‘sport’ was fairly labeled by some critics as ‘human cockfighting’. Without McCarthy as an instrumental player in changing regulations and rules, who knows where the MMA would be today.
What we have grown to appreciate most about McCarthy over the past two decades is how simple he makes this tough job look, which can be credited to years of experience and dedication. To the layman, it would appear that it’s a simple as stopping the fight when a fighter is knocked out or submitted. MMA fans know there’s a lot more to it than that.
It’s difficult to remember a moment in recent memory where McCarthy has let a fight go too long, or even stopped a fight too soon. His timing is almost always perfect. His composure and rationale in the cage are unmatched. When McCarthy is the third man in the Octagon we know the fighters are in safe hands.
It’s worth reiterating how important McCarthy is in maintaining the standard of referring and judging in the sport. The sport of MMA is still very young and is growing rapidly and so are the rules. The former LAPD police officer created his own training school known as C.O.M.M.A.N.D. The course teaches the next generation of MMA referees and judges, and there is no better person to be educated by. Referees must complete this or a similar course run by Herb Dean to be licensed as an official.
Former fighter Frank Trigg, who has pursued refereeing since his career wound down, has taken the course. He recently appeared on The MMA Hour to explain just how tough C.O.M.M.A.N.D is. It took Trigg three attempts to pass, emphasizing just how difficult a career path officiating is.
While ‘Big John’ as he is more affectionately known hasn’t completely left refereeing, he will likely no longer be seen in the cage at the biggest shows. The pool of referees trusted with the big title fights is rather small. Normally McCarthy and Herb Dean are tasked with the important title fights.
It’s not all bad that McCarthy is stepping aside for the time being. The likes of Mark Smith, Jason Herzog, and Chris Tognoni have all shown they are capable officials. There is now a great opportunity for them to move into the main event slots. There are also the likes of Yves Lavigne, Mike Beltran and Marc Goddard who can be trusted to referee the big fights.
While it is surprising, it’s understandable that McCarthy is looking for new career ventures. It is no secret that MMA referees are poorly paid relative to other sporting officials. Las Vegas often discloses referee pay when assignments are announced. The pay tends to range between $1000 and $2000 for the night. Trigg explained on The MMA hour that there is no money in becoming a referee and that most also have full-time jobs. McCarthy’s passion for the sport of MMA has been the biggest incentive for refereeing. It is totally understandable that he would take a bigger payday and put all his knowledge of the sport to good use in the commentary booth.
McCarthy will almost certainly be as dedicated to his new job as he was with his refereeing duties. He can also offer a fascinating insight into the officiating of a fight that nobody else can offer. If there wasn’t already an excuse to watch Bellator 192 on January 20th, headlined by Rory MacDonald vs Douglas Lima, then there most definitely is now.
Could Miocic vs Ngannou be one of the biggest heavyweight title fights of all time?
When you think of great heavyweight title fights, fights like Lesnar vs Carwin, Couture vs Sylvia, and Lesnar vs Velasquez may spring to mind. Each and every fight mentioned epitomises what the heavyweight division is all about. The baddest men on the planet taking each other on to become the unofficial ‘baddest man on the planet.’
On January 20th, Cleveland’s own Stipe Miocic will defend his heavyweight title against Francis Ngannou and it has all the makings of a heavyweight classic. But just how good can this fight become?
In one corner you have Stipe Miocic, the defending heavyweight champion. He is a part-time firefighter and a full-time bad ass. Despite being at the pinnacle of MMA, Miocic continues to work at his local fire department whilst defending his strap. It’s part of what makes Miocic so lovable, his down to Earth lifestyle and mentality makes him relatable to many.
Although the focus is on the ferocious striking of the man he is facing, Miocic has some of the best boxing in MMA, he is currently on a streak of four first-round knockouts where has displayed frightening power and skill, dismantling heavyweight greats like Arlovski, Werdum, Overeem and Dos Santos in spectacular fashion. Miocic also possesses the movement of a middleweight and has very good wrestling skills, when he chooses to use them.
Miocic’s last 5 fights
- UFC 211: Stipe Miocic (c) def. Junior Dos Santos via TKO (punches) – Round 1, time 2:22
- UFC 203: Stipe Miocic (c) def. Alistair Overeem via KO (punches) – Round 1, time 4:27
- UFC 198: Stipe Miocic def. Fabricio Werdum (c) via KO (Punch) – Round 1, time 2:47
- UFC 195: Stipe Miocic def. Andrei Arlovski via TKO (punches) – Round 1, time 0:54
- UFC FN 65: Stipe Miocic def. Mark Hunt via TKO (punches) – Round 5, time 2:47
This fight could be a historic one for Miocic who could be the most dominant UFC heavyweight champion since the company’s inception in 1993. A win over Ngannou would see him set the record for the most consecutive title defenses with a total of 3.
In the opposing corner is the man looking to become Africa’s first UFC champion, Francis Ngannou. The heavyweight division seems to be like a revolving door at the top and Ngannou wants to continue that trend by stopping Miocic from breaking the record of consecutive defenses.
Ngannou has an incredible story and has incredible ability. It’s seen him become one of the most popular fighters on the roster despite being with the UFC for only 2 years.
So far in his short UFC career, Ngannou has justified the hype that surrounds him. Since his UFC debut in December 2015, Ngannou is yet to go to a decision and has won each of his 6 UFC bouts. Like Miocic, Ngannou is on a streak of four first-round finishes.
Ngannou’s last 5 fights
- UFC 218: Francis Ngannou def. Alistair Overeem via KO (punch) Round 1, time 1:42
- UFC on Fox Shevchenko vs Pena: Francis Ngannou def. Andrei Arlovski via TKO (punches) Round 1, time 1:32
- UFC FN 102: Francis Ngannou def. Anthony Hamilton via Submission (Kimura) Round 1, time 1:57
- UFC on Fox Holm vs Shevchenko: Francis Ngannou def. Bojan Mihajlovic via TKO (punches) Round 1, time 1:34
- UFC FN 86: Francis Ngannou def. Curtis Blaydes via TKO (doctor stoppage) Round 2, time 5:00
Ngannou is a big heavyweight with freakishly powerful striking. His knock out of Alistair Overeem garnered plenty of attention due to the brutal nature of the uppercut he landed. But it was just a snippet of what Ngannou is capable of.
This fight is the best heavyweight fight for years on paper and it really feels important for the division. Will Stipe break the record or will the unstoppable force beat the immovable object?
This fight feels like it could end up being one of the greatest heavyweight title fights of all time. It’s been a while since we’ve seen two heavyweights in their prime go head to head for a truly spectacular stand up scrap and that’s exactly what we’re getting here.
The fight could potentially be over within one minute and the odds will probably be in favor of a first-round finish, especially given each man’s recent run. But what an exciting minute that would be. Knowing that both fighters have the skill and raw power to end the fight at any moment. That excitement is something the heavyweight division has missed for a long time. Even if the fight doesn’t turn into the classic slugfest we would like it to be, this fight will remain an important one which could see the tide of the heavyweight division turn to a new, positive direction. Whether it’s the most dominant champion ever or the young stud, the heavyweight division is in good hands.
These are the two most marketable heavyweights right now, two of the most popular heavyweights right now and two of the biggest hitters right now. Only one will be considered the baddest man on the planet come the 20th of January. Who’s your money on?
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