UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping has confirmed the venue and date for his fight with returning former UFC welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre.
According to Bisping, the saga that started in March and later developed into a ‘will they, won’t they?’ story for the ages is scheduled to come to it’s conclusion inside the world famous Madison Square Garden at UFC 217 on November 4th.
Last week, UFC president Dana White had been adamant that the fight would not be pieced back together in spite of the wishes of both fighters.
“That ship’s sailed,” said White from the centre of a media scrum, before reiterating that Bisping would face newly crowned interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker whenever they were both fit to compete and that St-Pierre would face the winner of Tyron Woodley vs Demian Maia for his old welterweight strap.
However, White had a change of heart over the weekend. He claimed that this had come about due to the boring nature of Woodley vs Maia, the co-main event of Saturday’s UFC 214 event and a welterweight title fight that sapped the will to live from every viewer that had the displeasure of watching it.
“Fucking round 5 [of Woodley vs. Maia],” White said at the UFC 214 post-fight press conference when asked to pinpoint the moment that Bisping vs St-Pierre became a reality once again.
Bisping missed the announcement itself but soon after he was brought up to date by Fox Sports colleague Kenny Florian. According to the ‘The Count’, he was caught somewhat unawares by the news.
“To be honest, Dana said at the press conference last week that ‘The Bisping-GSP ship had sailed,'” Bisping said on his ‘Believe You Me’ podcast this week. “When he said that I was like oh right fair enough. He said the winner of Woodley vs. Maia gets GSP and I was like oh right, whatever, it would’ve been nice and a bigger payday and all that stuff, but I was just mentally drained with it all(Transcription via MMAUno).
“I was like f*ck it whatever, I’d already agreed to fight Robert Whittaker or Yoel Romero, whichever one of those guys won I’d agreed to fight so for me, I’d mentally moved on as well. I honestly had. Of course, I was still hoping for it, but I’d given up campaigning for several reasons, one, because it looked like it wasn’t happening because every time I spoke to Dana he just shot it down.
“So, I had given up on that fight.”
“So we are doing the [UFC 214] post-fight show afterwards, the Fox post-fight show, we are talking about the fights, yada, yada, ya. We finish and the first thing I do is take off my microphone and all that stuff. And then they are talking in the earpieces and Kenny Florian was still connected. And then Kenny is like, ‘Mike, wait there, wait there.’ And the control room are talking to him, and he said, ‘Apparently Dana just said that you get the next fight with GSP’. I’m like, ‘What? No way.’
“So, I start looking at Twitter as I’m walking to get changed out of my suit and Twitter is like going crazy and everyone is retweeting Dana saying at the press conference and I’m like what the f*ck. Then boom, I get a text from Dana saying call me. I’m like, woah f*ck, here we go. So I call him, but there’s no answer, so I’m thinking you know he’s probably still doing his interviews and what not.
“So I drive home and yeah, Dana calls, there you go, November 4th, Madison Square Garden, Michael Bisping vs ‘GSP.”‘
Bisping’s comments confirm the veracity of a report published by MMAFighting on Saturday that claimed the fight would land on the November 4th card.
However, Bisping added that, because of the way things have played out over the last few months, his enthusiasm for this fight is being somewhat tempered by a lack of confidence that it will actually go ahead as scheduled.
“After Dana had made it public, the amount of people texting me ‘congrats’, ‘amazing’ everyone is saying ‘congrats’ and I’m like, ‘what do you mean f*cking ‘congrats,'” said Bisping. “I appreciate the sentiment I really do, but I’m like I’ve been here three times [before with] people saying congrats for this fight which is yet to materialize.”