Michael Bisping has addressed the criticism he received for his foul-mouthed Fox Sports 1 interview with Colby Covington following the latter’s interim welterweight title victory against Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 225 in Chicago last weekend.
Bisping addressed Covington as a “prick” during the brief interview, after which he received criticism online — notably from UFC commentator Jon Anik — for a lack of professionalism. Anik soon retracted his criticism of Bisping.
Speaking on his Believe You Me podcast, Bisping said that he wasn’t intent on being overly-critical of Covington but instead wanted to allow the fighter opportunities to break out the type of post-fight speech for which he has become accustomed.
“He came right hot out of the gate,” Bisping said via MMAFighting. “I get it, the guy’s charged and he’s kind of made a career out of being controversial and what-not. Maybe if I could do it again I’d calm down, I‘d bring it down just a notch but the first thing he said was ‘Hey, I’ve got all my haters in one spot. Blah blah blah.’ So I said, hold on a minute, just listen, we actually gave you a lot of compliments.
“Colby Covington, he’s mister controversy. Everywhere he goes he tries to create controversy. For crying out loud he Tweets out spoilers to the new Star Wars movies and things like that. So when he came on, the first thing he did was, ‘f**k you guys up there on the panel. Kiss my ass, you all picked me to lose!’ So I thought, okay here we go, we’ve got Colby Covington in rare form – this is what he likes to do – so I thought maybe I’d be a sparring partner for him.
“I wasn’t offended by anything that he said. . . I thought if Colby wants to have a Colby-esque moment and create drama and controversy then I’ll be a sparring partner with him. I gave it back to him a little bit.”
As noted above, Jon Anik didn’t take too kindly to Bisping’s line of questioning and would later refer to it as “disgraceful” — something which was also addressed by Bisping.
“Jon obviously wouldn’t do that – and I love Jon, don’t get me wrong, I‘m having a bit of fun here – but we’ve got different styles. Jon wouldn’t have done that and I wouldn’t go to social media to berate a colleague. We’ve all just got different styles.
“Those comments stung a little bit,” Bisping said. ”If you’ve got a problem, maybe just shoot me a text, maybe give me some advice. Maybe say, ‘Yo Mike, just giving you some advice as a friend. When you’re in that position, try and separate yourself as a fighter.’ Maybe try and guide me along. Don’t say, ‘Hey, I’m hoping this motherf**ker gets fired. He definitely needs to be reprimanded by Fox and this is disgraceful and he should be ashamed.’
“There’s no beef. I respect Jon greatly. I respect him as a commentator, I respect him as a professional, and as a person. I truly do, I’m just having a bit of fun with it. He said it, he apologized, whatever. I couldn’t care less. I’m not in the habit of trying to make enemies. I’m trying to make friends and not hold grudges against people for a silly little Tweet.”