Michael Bisping has never been one to mince words, but during Tuesday’s media conference call to promote his upcoming bout with Anderson Silva, “The Count” made it emphatically clear where he stands on peformance-enhancing drugs – and had some harsh words for his opponent about Silva’s past failed tests.
You can listen to the complete audio by using the media player included with this article, but below are some of the highlights from Bisping’s incisive commentary.
“The fact of the matter is Anderson Silva tested positive for not one, not two, but three banned substances inside his body,” he said. “While I respect him as a fighter, I’ve got to say I lost a lot of respect for him for that.”
“This fight represents me beating all of these people that want to cheat the system,” continued the fighter, who has a history of being pitted against opponents who have had drug issues. “I’ve never taken a performance-enhancing drug in my life, and anybody that does should be ashamed. To call yourself a martial artist but to take performance-enhancing drugs is the biggest contradiction you could ever make.”
Bisping went on to encourage officials to drug test him during his current training camp, as well as to test Silva repeatedly given the other man’s two positive drug tests after his last fight. He also stated that he believes those who have cheated will continue to do so regardless of what testing program is put into place, and he made clear that those people will never have his respect.
“If these people are willing to cheat in the first place, they’re going to try to continue to cheat. They’re going to try to continue to manipulate the system,” he added. “At the end of the day, if you take performance enhancing drugs, you’re a coward. Just because they’re bring in advanced testing doesn’t change the fact that you’re still going to be a coward and you’re still going to try and cheat the system.”
Bisping has every right to be particularly angry about this issue, given that the UFC keeps matching him with opponents who have had PED problems, including Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson and now Silva. He in particular has to keep putting his career on the line against people with an unfair advantage.
But he’s also giving a loud and clear voice to an argument that needs to be had not just in mixed martial arts, but across sports. The drug issue is at the forefront in the UFC because of the issue surrounding Nick Diaz, while PED’s and penalization for them have been a concern in Major League Baseball for decades, and sports fans are well aware of the drug allegations that Lance Armstrong eventually admitted to after his cycling success.
It can only be a good thing to have an athlete like Bisping who is willing to come out and emphatically, without a doubt say that performance enhancers in sports are wrong and that he’s not going to stand for it. While he isn’t a UFC executive, at least he’s standing up and showing that he is an athlete of integrity and that he doesn’t want to support those who aren’t. Hopefully, his words will have an impact. If nothing else, they put a charge into his upcoming fight with Silva.
Tickets for UFC Fight Night London are now available at AXS.