UFC 286 marks a landmark – it was the first London set PPV card. Ahead of the event Dana White announced the gate was trending toward $9.8 million dollars. This is roughly 50% higher than UFC gate average.
But the commentary team hit a snag. Due to the European location, Joe Rogan was absent and local hero Michael Bisping stepped in to replace him.
That appeared to set off another issue considering that MMA pros and pundits alike felt that main event commentary fell short.
Leon Edwards is the first ever UK champion to be actually training out of UK. Previously that title was held by Michael Bisping who relocated to US after a gym finance mismanagement led to a team split.
Justin Gaethje was the most prominent person to call out Bisping on how he behaved during the main event. Gaethje told media:
“I thought he won the fight. But I’m probably as biased as the judges. Certainly not as biased as Michael Bisping. shouldn’t have been nowhere near a microphone during that fight. ”
Journalist followed up prompting Gaethje to elaborate:
“It’s not my call. I just thought it was very unprofessional.”
Bisping was excited to be covering the home town hero and even got a standing ovation from the crowd. In terms of bias, there was some but not worse than your average UFC event.
Earlier Bisping seemed defensive about a foul that was called when Edwards hooked his fingers onto Usman’s glove.
“Who cares if he grabs your glove, shouldn’t be talking to the referee. He should be trying to get you to arm free and elbow the crap out of him..”
Perhaps the biggest offense came when Bisping captioned the situation like this in round 5: after Cormier said Usman had a solid round Bisping went on to say Edwards had a better ruond 5.
“Leon’s landed the cleaner the shots, defended the takedowns for the most part ” Bisping recapped round 5.
Overall Bisping seemed to fangirl over the first KO a lot during the broadcast and was amused at crowd vividly chanting. Which isn’t exactly the biggest infraction of the year but it’s interesting.
Gaethje and Kamaru Usman share the same manager in Ali Abdelaziz and even went to a picnic to Chechenia together recently. They are also both coached by Trevor Wittman. And Gaethje might have a soft spot for his teammates. Recently, he credited a Rose Namajunas loss for getting him upset ahead of the Charles Oliveira title bout he lost.