Will they? Won’t they? Michael Bisping and the return of GSP feels like it’s a saga that’s been playing for months now – and the queue of middleweight belt challengers backing up behind this potential fight is getting bigger in the meantime.
Well, despite Dana White saying last week that “The ship had sailed…” on a GSP vs Bisping fight, it seems like it’s back on, with Nov 4th at Madison Square Gardens being the likely date and venue and the winner of the fight facing interim champ, Robert Whittaker in the near future.
“That ship f*cking turned around and sailed back,” White said on Saturday night at the UFC 214 post-fight press conference.
Previously, during the pre-fight presser for UFC 214, White had stated that the winner of Tyrone Woodley versus Demian Maia would face GSP at welterweight, but the crowd reaction to their fight on Saturday night seems to have changed his mind. The fight was a drawn out technical grind that left fans chanting ‘This is boring’ while performing a mexican wave with their phone lights.
Post UFC214, White said, “Listen, when you break a record for the least number of punches thrown in a five-round fight, when you beat it and it was like 130 and these guys threw 60 or something like that, that sums it up.” Later, he added, “If you get booed out of the arena, that’s not good. That’s not how you make your money. If people don’t want to watch you, that’s a bad sign.”
Last time we looked, entertainment value wasn’t the key criteria in deciding who the ultimate fighter is, but the UFC has moved beyond a contest between who is the best fighter and is firmly drifting towards the spectacle of the arena being valued beyond technical ability. It’s unfortunate, but true – showmanship sells.