UFC veteran Michael Bisping isn’t exactly the poster boy of humility, and his brash personality has turned him into one of the more controversial figures in the sport.
Bisping was greeted by a chorus of boos when he approached the scales at the UFC on Fox 2 weigh ins, prompting the 32 year old to flip off the crowd. Apparently, that move didn’t go down well with the folks at MMA Elite (one of Bisping’s sponsors) prompting the apparel company to temporarily cut ties with the Brit.
“I must apologize to all of our fans,” MMA Elite CEO Alden Halpern tweeted shortly after the UFC on Fox 2 weigh ins. “After sponsoring Bisping he flips off fans at weigh in. He will never be sponsored by us again!”
Dropping a fighter for selling a fight obviously makes no sense, and many MMA fans quickly came to Bisping’s defense. Michael sent Halpern a message, explaining things from his perspective.
“@MMAELITE_Alden well you need a sense of humor buddy,” Bisping tweeted. “Done it every weigh in, when they boo for a laugh, and they love it! Cheer like crazy”
Bisping has indeed flipped off fans in the past and the crowd at the UFC on Fox 2 weigh ins certainly seemed to enjoy his antics. Halpern eventually budged under the pressure, issuing an apology to Bisping and reinstating him with the company.
“I must humbly say that i jumped the gun on Michael Bisping,” Halpern wrote. “I just spoke to him and he truly is a gentleman. What i was concerned about… Is not what he is truly about. Although I do not endorse the finger, his intentions are not of bad intent but a persona. After speaking to him you cant help but like this man. We will continue to stand behind him! On a personal note to Michael i apoligize and let this be the beginning of a great relationship.”
I’m glad Halpern eventually came to his senses, and I hope sponsors and others involved with MMA do a little more thinking in the future before jumping on the politically correct train.