Sacked postman to UFC glory – Michael Bisping delivered when it mattered most

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Michael Bisping's poetic journey from uninspired teen to UFC Middleweight Champion was born out of his unflappable pursuit of a greater life for his wife and children.

The achievements of the retired mixed martial artist, who remains the only British fighter to win a UFC Championship, are made all the more impressive by the sacrifices he made to reach the summit.

Having called time on his career back in 2017 after losing an eye and almost going blind in the other. The Count has announced a five-date UK tour in which he will speak frankly about his eventful life.

An Evening With Michael Bisping: Tales From The Octagon, will travel from Dublin to Glasgow via London, Birmingham and Manchester this October, with tickets available now.


Speaking exclusively to Daily Sport Sport, Bisping spoke about his time job-hopping after stepping away from his MMA training in his teens, and how Dana White helped him make it big in the United States.

When asked about his time working regular jobs, he said: “I spent time as a postman when I was 17 I think. My clock-in time was about four in the morning, and back then I was out every Friday night!

“So Saturday mornings I would just stay up all night and go in, and it didn’t go well. I never packed by bag right, there’s a certain way you’ve got to pack it and I never did it right.

“I’d get about two or three miles away and find a letter, and think crap, I’m not going all the way back, so I’d just plan to deliver it tomorrow – but you can’t do that as a postman!

“One day the guy came up and asked said: ‘Mike, what are you doing, you’re not delivering these letters?’ and he said yeah they had to let me go. It was short-lived. They fired me! Postman Pat got let go!”

Then came his infamous time in Clitheroe slaughterhouse, which he admits was a regular occurrence for young lads in the town – but does not look back on it fondly.

Saying: “It’s a gruesome process. In Clitheroe most lads like me were gonna have a stint at the slaughterhouse. There’s nothing glamorous but I worked there a few times actually.

“There was one time I was working there just mopping blood into the drains and I said to the foreman that surely I could be doing more than this. And he took a break and offered me apprentice slaughterman.

“The next minute I’m there and they’re killing cows infront of me, 500 a day. I didn’t do it for very long, I was definitely in over my head – thanks for the opportunity but I was scarred for life after two weeks.”

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  • After making a pact with long-term partner and now wife Rebecca, Bisping made the decision to step back into the world of MMA with the view of providing his family with the best life he could.

    He added: “I left school at 16 with no qualifications, dead-end job after dead-end job. When I got to my twenties and had two kids I thought to myself is this really it. It’s honest work but you always want better.”

    Having cleared his way through UK MMA in style, Bisping attended a UFC audition event in Earls Court with the chance of being picked for The Ultimate Fighter 3 – which became his first visit to the US.

    Despite initial nerves, Bisping took little time to adapt to his new surroundings and would go on to demolish his Light-Heavyweight rivals and immediately earn the respect of UFC President White.

    “Dana saw that I had an incredible work ethic, I was never the strongest, the most explosive or the fastest or anything like that, but I wanted it, I was a natural fighter. I’m ashamed to say that I had a lot of street fights as well but I knew I could fight. He saw that and I guess he wasn’t wrong.”

    Following a move from Light-Heavyweight to Middleweight, Bisping would make his name as a winner but fell short in title eliminators against Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen before losing to rival Luke Rockhold.

    While doubts begun to creep into his previously determined road to be champion, a historic victory over the previously untouchable Anderson Silva in London would prove to be pivotal.

    After hearing that former champion Chris Weidman was unable to take on Rockhold at UFC 199, Bisping took time out of filming XXX: Return of Xander Cage to phone White and make his case.

    Although White didn’t confirm his hopes initially, Bisping would find out about his shot at glory on television and proceed to start running to test his stamina.

    His wildest dreams became a reality with a stunning first-round knock-out victory over the huge favourite, and he remembers every fraction of a second of the following celebrations.

    While a unanimous points triumph over Dan Henderson would hand the Brit a title defence and Performance of the Night, the eye problems that originated against Vitor Belfort in 2013 would resurface.

    UFC icon Georges St-Pierre stepped back into the octagon to make his Middleweight debut after years of Welterweight domination – and the Canadian knew where he would find his success.

    Bisping continued: “He said on the microphone afterwards that he knew I didn’t see too well out of his right eye – and it was definitely hard fighting with one eye for as long as I did and keeping it a secret.”

    Just days later Bisping shocked his family by growing curious of the chance of fighting Kelvin Gastelum in Shanghai, a fight which ended in his fears over going completely blind.

    He said: “I obviously lost the fight and there was some stupid afterparty at what was a beautiful nightclub in Shanghai – and every time I would look to the left I would get a flash of light.

    “Every time, every time, and I started freaking out. Obviously I’ve had eye troubles and multiple detached retinas on my other eye – so I know what the warning signs are.

    “I was always told by doctors not to fight because I only had one eye and if anything happens to the other one then I was going to be fully blind.

    “I always thought that lightening wasn’t going to strike twice, generally people don’t get detached retinas, it does happen, but it’s not going to happen again…

    “So I started having these signs and I was terrified, I was upset and I got back to my hotel room and I thought I don’t believe this – I was terrified, I thought I was going to go blind.

    “It was a stressful time, trust me. That was the longest flight home because I’d had a few drinks to drown my sorrows and I fell asleep on the plane, I wake up half way home and I wanted to Google it.

    “I was begging that I needed to get online and Google what this is. But anyway I had a vitreous detachment which isn’t too serious – but it drove home the message.”

    These are just a few of the stories that Michael will be sharing with those who attend An Evening With Michael Bisping this October, with tickets available now and an extra date added due to high demand.

    He added of the five dates: “After the success of my first one man show in Toronto in 2019, I am coming home to England so join me as I take you through the highs and lows of my fight career, sharing many unheard stories and insight into the fascinating sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

    “They will leave you laughing your head off while also being inspired to conceive, believe and achieve.

    “From my early days of working in a slaughterhouse, living in my car and all the way up to winning the middleweight world title in the UFC to retiring nearly blind, I have quite the story to tell.”

    Tickets are on sale now, and available through this link.

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