Michael Bisping shouldn’t have worked as a color commentator for the UFC 286 main event on Saturday, according to lightweight star Justin Gaethje.
Gaethje — who picked up a “Fight of the Night” victory over Rafael Fiziev in the night’s co-main slot — watched his teammate Kamaru Usman attempt to regain his 170-pound title during the headlining act. Unfortunately for “The Nigerian Nightmare,” he suffered his second-straight defeat to Leon Edwards as the welterweight champion came out on top with a majority decision (48-46, 48-46, 47-47).
When at the post-fight press conference, Gaethje said he scored the fight for Usman but also admitted he was “biased” because of his relationship with the division’s former king. “The Highlight” then said he wasn’t as biased as Michael Bisping, however, accusing the Englishman of slanting his commentary toward his fellow countryman. He also alluded to the judges being keen to score the bout for “Rocky” as the match took place at the O2 Arena in London, England.
“I thought [Usman] won the fight, but I’m probably as biased as the judges,” Gaethje said. “Certainly not as biased as Michael Bisping, who should’ve been nowhere near a microphone during that fight.”
Gaethje Said Bisping’s Commentator Was ‘Very Unprofessional’
The Mac Life’s Oscar Willis then asked, “Is that something the UFC needs to look at? Having guys who are friends of the people fighting not commentate.”
“It’s not my call,” Gaethje responded. “I just thought it was very unprofessional.”
Now retired from fighting, Bisping is one of the promotion’s go-to color commentators. Since Joe Rogan doesn’t commentate during international pay-per-view events, “The Count” has managed to work himself into a position as one of Rogan’s main replacements.
Gaethje Defended His Top-Five Ranking By Halting Fiziev’s Rise Through the Division
Gaethje (24-4) has held firm as a top-five lightweight for years, and he proved on Saturday that he deserves to remain as such. The Highlight entered the bout on the heels of his second failed attempt at becoming the undisputed 155-pound king. He fought Charles Oliveira in May 2022 and lost by first-round submission.
After sitting on the shelf for nearly a year, and at 34 years old with over a decade of professional miles on him, it wasn’t clear how The Highlight would perform following his quick defeat to Oliveira. But, Gaethje reminded fans why he has coined himself the most exciting fighter in the sport.
The American took all that the speedy and technical Fiziev had on the feet for three rounds while delivering his patented power strikes, and he finished the bloody battle landing clean and hurting “Ataman,” as well as earning a takedown. Two judges saw enough from Gaethje and another scored it a draw, which led to a 29-28, 28-28 and 29-28 decision.
The result wasn’t without controversy, however, as some viewers scored the first two rounds for Fiziev. Regardless, Fiziev’s rising up the lightweight ladder has been halted for now. He entered the fight with a No. 6 ranking, a number he worked toward by putting together a six-fight win streak which included a late-fight knockout over former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in his last outing in July. His professional record fell to 12-2.