Title: The Ultimate Fighter: US vs UK Coach’s Blog – Michael Bisping

By Michael 'The Count' Bisping

Week Six - I've been waiting for this blog so I could at least explain why I wasn't at Dean's fight the previous week. I've been asked about nothing else over the last few days - even live on UK television - but until now couldn't say anything about why I missed the fight.

I am not going to try to excuse missing Dean's fight, and I haven't done so since it happened in January. All I can do is explain how it happened.

As you watch the series, it looks as though we'd been training for weeks and weeks, but the reality is at this point I'd only been in Vegas for eight days. And I was still jet-lagged to hell.

Normally, I never have any trouble with jetlag at all, but this trip killed me for some reason. My body clock was still on English time, I was wide awake at 5AM and dog-tired in the middle of the afternoon. Getting to Vegas three days later because of the visa problems certainly didn't help me, as I literally went straight from the plane to the gym for my first training session.

Because I was training so hard on so little sleep, I was getting exhausted and I didn't want to let my team down by turning up with a lame "let's not train today" excuse like other coaches have done.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but I guess I should have had my assistant coaches Dave and Mario do a day's training while I had a day sleeping trying to get my body clock on Vegas time, but I felt that would be short-changing my team. I was the coach, and I felt should be there, hands-on, each session.

But I was desperate to finally, somehow, get a good night's sleep and so I got some sleeping tablets. I was a little nervous to use them, as I'd never taken them before, but after trying to get to sleep without them I finally took them about 2AM and I was out like BA Baracus.... and woke up at 5PM!

I couldn't believe the time on the bedside clock. I checked my watch, but it was the same time - 5PM. An hour after the fight! I couldn't believe it. I rushed to the gym, but it was too late. I'd missed Dean's fight.

It sounds like a pathetic, weak excuse, I know, that I overslept but that's what happened. I was completely embarrassed, I'm not unprofessional in my career, and I took my role as TUF coach very seriously, and most of all I'd let Dean down.

Like you saw on the show, I couldn't look Dean in the eye afterwards. But he didn't hold it against me. He was understanding, but to this day I feel awful about it.

Regarding Dean's fight, I don't think it had a big affect on the outcome; he had the same coaches who've gotten me this far in my own career and who will be coaching me against Dan Henderson at UFC 100. But still, I owed him big time.

Myself and Dean have squared it up, we remain good friends and he will be the first to tell you I am helping him in his career to this day. He's a great young talent, he has everything to shoot for and if there's anything else I can do for him I will in a heartbeat.

Dean and myself are cool, he knows how much I like and respect him.

But back then I felt awful for letting him and the UFC down.

After all that, I was anxious to get back to training and winning. The next fight was Martin 'Stapes' Stapleton against Cameron Dollar, which is a fight I felt we'd win.

I was a little shocked to see how nervous Cameron was. During filming, I didn't see any of that. All I ever saw of Cameron was him being very cocky. Fear in fighting is a good thing, it sharpens your mind in a hurry, but to be honest, Dollar was s**tting himself here.

Some people have said that Dollar was too scared, but I think it takes a man to admit his fears and go through them.

Stapes was the exact opposite to being afraid. He said it himself, after getting shot at in Iraq, and seeing some of the things he's witnessed as a Royal Marine, a 15 minute MMA fight isn't anything to be losing sleep over.

As for the fight itself, I think Stapes was very unlucky to get hit at the back of the head so early. You only need to ask Georges St-Pierre about how hard it is to recover from that kind of shot, especially if you take it in the opening few minutes.

Not taking away from Matt Serra or Cameron Dollar, these things happen in MMA when you can duck down below the waist unlike in boxing, but I felt badly for Stapes. He didn't have a clue what knocked him down when I asked him after the fight.

Stapes has a ton of potential, he's a good all-round fighter, and his fitness is something else, as is his mental strength. I believe we will see a lot more from him in the future. His job is being the strength and conditioning coach for the Royal Marines, and I absolutely have gone to him for advice on my conditioning.

I couldn't help but notice on the episode that Henderson said "The look of shock on Bisping's face was as nice as I expected it to be."

Obviously, I didn't know Dan had said that until I watched. Well, you can't win them all, Daniel, and I can't wait to see the look of shock on YOUR face when I mince your arse like burger meat on July 11.

The next fight was picked by Dan, and it was Frankie Lester v James Wilks of my team.

Watching it back, Team USA were saying that James couldn't do anything on his feet, but it just goes to show how badly they got it wrong. He is actually even better on his feet than on the ground, which I found out in my first session with him.

Frankie has taken some stick for saying how he was going to knock James's teeth out and how he hated him, but I completely understand that some fighters have to manufacture dislike for their opponent. To be honest, I do that a little bit, too, to help me focus and motivate me in training. It is a little irrational, but whatever gets you fired up for early morning runs...

As for the fight, while I was concerned at times when James was dropping his hands and Frankie was swinging for the fences, I felt James was always winning what was another great fight from the TUF 9 cast.

Towards the end of the first round I felt James was laying a beating on him, and Frankie was pretty much saved by the horn.

At the time I had no idea the American had a problem with his teeth or his gumshield, I couldn't see what was happening from across the other side of the Octagon. All I knew was that my guy was in control and the other guy was getting extra time, which is why I started getting on the referee's case to either start the round or wave the fight off in favour of James.

You only get 60 seconds rest, and any trouble with the mouthpiece surely should have been worked on at the start of that period, not after it? I am not sure of the rulebook, but what do I know, I am just a moaning Brit! ;-)

Anyway, another episode in, and Team UK remains in the lead. But at this point I was still thinking Team UK could easily have won every single fight. Driving back to the apartment I'd been put up in, I vowed to train my team even harder and smarter...

For more information on Michael Bisping, visit www.bisping.tv
Flash Page

May 12 2009
Splash - Welcome to the UFC 100 Official Site - Making History July 11, 2009. Trailer - UFC 100 will be the biggest event in mixed martial arts history. Two championship belts are on the line. UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar will defend his title against Interim Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir in their long-awaited grudge match, and UFC Welterweight champion Georges "Rush" St-Pierre will fight #1 contender Thiago "Pitbull" Alves. Also, The Ultimate Fighter coaches collide as Dan Henderson takes on Michael "The Count" Bisping in a pivotal middleweight showdown. News - Official site for all UFC 100 news, articles, videos and images. Analysis - Exclusive analysis from UFC President Data White. He talks about such topics as the early days of the UFC, UFC 100, The Ultimate Fighter and more. He also analyzes the featured fighters that headline UFC 100, namely Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir, Georges St-Pierre, Thiago Alves, Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping. Fightcard - The fight card for UFC 100 is as stacked as they come, featuring some of the best mixed martial arts experts in the world. The featured bouts include Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Interim Heavyweight Champ Frank Mir and Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre vs. Thiago Alves. Also, The Ultimate Fighter coaches Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping will face off to see who move up the middleweight rankings. Predict - In the Predict 100 section of the UFC 100 event site, fans get a chance to predict the outcomes of the main fight card. Will it be Lesnar by submission or Mir by KO? Share your thoughts. Watch - UFC 100 will be shown live on pay-per-view on Saturday July 11 at 10PM ET/7PM PT. UK fans can enjoy the event live on Setanta Sports or online on Yahoo! Sports. Visit the site for additional information. Overview - Official UFC 100 site - Making History July 11, 2009.