Michael Bisping turned a little bit of talent and a whole lot of courage, heart, determination and will power into a Hall of Fame career with the UFC.
These days, he’s using those same traits to become something of an MMA media mogul.
The former middleweight champion is the co-host along with Luis J. Gomez of the popular podcast, “Believe You Me.” He’s rapidly becoming one of the best cageside analysts for ESPN on its UFC broadcasts, and now, along with ghost writer Anthony “Ant” Evans, he’s written a compelling book about his life.
And while all of the expected stories about his legendary UFC career are included, it’s the stories we didn’t know about and which never came up in conversation which make his book, “Quitters Never Win: My Life in UFC,” so fascinating.
It’s a fast-paced read which includes a story about a visit he received from a hitman, a brief stint in jail and his gut-wrenching reaction to the crushing knockout loss he took from Dan Henderson at UFC 100.
But the story of the visit he received from a would-be murderer is the kind of story that makes his tale unique from the vast majority of other fighter autobiographies.
He told Yahoo Sports that he was 17 in July 1996 and came home late on a Saturday after a night of drinking. Several times, he heard a faint tapping at his door.
Eventually, he asked who it was and the person knocking said, “John.” Bisping, though, didn’t know anyone named John, at least not well enough that the person would show up at his home late on a Saturday night.
Bisping opened the door to let the man in and immediately was maced.
He fell backward and rubbed his eyes. When he looked up, he saw a terrifying sight.
“When I opened my eyes, the guy stood there in black boots, black pants, black bomber jacket and a black Ku Klux Klan hood,” Bisping said.
The man held a can of gasoline which he began to pour around the apartment. This is quite a thing for anyone to have to deal with, let alone a partially drunk 17-year-old living on his own for the first time.
He panicked and isn’t afraid to admit it.
“You think in those situations, you’d be a tough guy,” Bisping said. “But I s--- my pants, and I don’t mind saying it. Behind me was a big block of knives, and I could have pulled out a knife, but I didn’t think of that. I wasn’t thinking straight [because] I was so terrified.”
Bisping ran into another room and closed the door. He grabbed the phone and dialed 999, the English equivalent of 911 in the U.S. and began to scream for help.
As Bisping is frantically pleading with the dispatcher for help, the intruder stood on the other side of the door and stared at him through a large window. The intruder didn’t react at first, but after the call to 999, Bisping called a friend asking him to get help.
Somehow, the man seemed to realize that Bisping was on the phone and wasn’t pretending. So the intruder pulled a hammer out of his jacket. He then pressed his face against the glass of the window and began tapping.
That’s when what might have been the death of a UFC legend before he ever made it as a fighter turned into something far different.
Bisping thought he recognized the man’s face as someone he calls “Bruno” in the book (he didn’t want to use his real name).
“I said ‘Bruno?’ and when I said that, he took a step back,” Bisping said. “When he took a step back, it gave me confidence because I said, ‘It’s really this guy.’ We’d had a few fights and I’d done this guy in before. And this piece of s--- is coming here with a hood on to get me.”
The guy left and Bisping later figured out why the intruder didn’t react at first when he thought Bisping was calling for help.
Earlier in the day, he’d come to the apartment when Bisping wasn’t there and cut a wire.
“Where the phone was, there was a cable and he cut that cable,” Bisping said. “But he’d actually disconnected the doorbell.”
The book contains many such entertaining stories, as well as never before told insights from his MMA career.
The Bisping you see broadcasting at UFC events and listen to during his podcast comes alive in this book. It’s an easy and entertaining read and well worth any fight fan’s time.
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