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No one ever questioned whether Michael Bisping could throw a punch. It turns out he can slap, too.
A familiar face to fight fans, Bisping is a former UFC middleweight champion. He is now providing color commentary for Power Slap bouts, which air on YouTube. While getting to know the competitors involved in the show, there have been multiple requests for Bisping to test out his slap prowess. Unsurprisingly, he did not shy away from the request.
“When I’m commentating, I like to know as much backstory as possible, so I went into the locker room to try to get a feel for everyone’s personalities,” says Bisping. “When I was there, one of the guys kept asking me for a slap to warm him up. He said it would be an honor, so I gave him a tiny little slap, the kind that didn’t hurt at all.
“Then everyone wanted a slap. One guy wanted a proper slap. He kept asking for it, so I upped the intensity.”
The competitor repeatedly asking Bisping for a slap was Jesse Nutting, who is among those vying for a Power Slap championship.
“I gave him a tiny slap,” says Bisping, “I did not slap him too hard, and he still ended up competing. ‘Slap Jesus’ [Michael Smith] slapped me back. It was just a bit of fun and games.”
Bisping, 43, has spent over three decades competing in martial arts and has smoothly transitioned to a career in television and film. He brings expert knowledge to his commentary.
“Slap fighting is not as intricate as mixed martial arts, but delivering a knockout blow and taking a knockout blow, I can talk about that—and I have experience in that,” says Bisping. “I’m here to relay that information and let viewers know what the fighters are going through.”
Slap fighting has some very loud critics, which reminds Bisping of similar criticisms formerly directed at MMA. While he does not believe Power Slap will reach the same heights as the UFC, Bisping does believe that slap fighting will find its audience.
“There seems to be a lot of negativity surrounding this, but there are a lot of slap organizations,” says Bisping. “If they weren’t doing it here, they would be doing it someplace else. At least this environment is as safe as possible.
“Mixed martial arts was particularly frowned upon back in the day. It was banned everywhere, and it was ‘human cockfighting’ and all the rest of it. Now it’s one of the most popular sports on planet earth. I don’t think this is going to be the next UFC, but there is value and entertainment in it. There is also a risk value. Would I do it? No, I wouldn’t, but I stepped into the Octagon, and there are risks involved in that, too.”
Bisping is in the upcoming remake of the film Red Sonja, which just filmed in Bulgaria. He hosts the “Believe You Me” podcast, and he remains a devoted fight fan. The upcoming UFC 287 pitting middleweight champ Alex Pereira against Israel Adesanya is a bout he is particularly looking forward to watching.
“It takes a hell of a lot of courage to go after a man that has beaten you three times and knocked you out twice, so the fact Izzy is stepping back in there tells you volumes about the type of fighter he is,” says Bisping. “Izzy could have easily taken six months off, but he didn’t. I really respect that. Regarding the matchup, Izzy is the better striker, but Pereira is more powerful. That’s a great equalizer.
“The reality is that all these fights were extremely close. Odds are Izzy’s going to win one at some point. Can Pereira do it four times in a row? This rematch is so fascinating.”