In a humbling gesture, Michael Bisping is apologizing to his U.K. fans for pulling out of next month’s UFC Fight Night 30 in Manchester, England.
“I am devastated for everyone who bought tickets to see me fight [Mark] Munoz. I am so sorry for the fans, I really am. I am disappointed for myself too, but my first thoughts are with the fans who have made sacrifices to come and see me in Manchester,” Bisping said in an interview with The Telegraph.
The East Yorkshire native was forced out of what would have been his seventh fight in his home country of England because of an eye injury he suffered in April. Surgery is necessary and requires full removal of Bisping’s eyeball. Currently, there is no timetable for his return.
For the 34-year-old Bisping, this is a major blow to his middleweight championship hopes. Consecutive title eliminator losses to Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort are still fresh in the mind of his pundits and, depending on how long he is sidelined and how well her performs in his return, he may not get a title shot until 2015.
As SciFighting.com reported last Friday, Bisping’s replacement will be former lightweight champion Lyoto Machida. This will be Machida’s inaugural middleweight bout and adds competition to an already stacked 185-pound division.
The injury will not stop Bisping from attending Fight Night 30 as a guest, however. He plans to meet and greet fans while supporting fellow British fighters.
“I just cannot believe I will not step into the Octagon in Manchester. But I promise my fans I will be back real soon,” Bisping said. “It will still be a great night for the UFC fight fans as Lyoto Machida will take my place. So go to the Phones4U Arena and still have a great time.”