–Kenny Rice

Thanks Michael Bisping, you really screwed this up. You were supposed to be this crazed, mean, intimidator winning 13 of 21 fights by way of knockout. That’s partially true,at least the record is. But you are perceived as this, well, thuggish bloke who spits at his opponent after taking him apart in the cage.

Forget all of those villainous labels, blown away in only one meeting.

Prior to the recent taping of Inside MMA, he walked into the green room— the area for guests to relax, nibble some breakfast, get acquainted with everyone— and there was no scowl on his face, no flippancy or disdain toward anyone, no anger of any kind. Instead there in his starched white shirt and jeans was an athletic looking man with a brightly accessible smile, a charming disposition and a firm yet gentleman handshake.

See? Already killing all these preconceived notions about him, rendering the crew captivated with his amiable manner and clever retorts as he prepared to tape the cage segment with Bas Rutten, who like I was more than pleasantly surprised on our initial meeting with “The Count.” Nothing dark about this man, nothing foreboding in the way he carried himself. Alright, alright Michael Bisping is a good dude. He has a wife, children, a hard working man, nothing phony, no pretenses, just a real guy’s guy.

“In for a penny, in for a pound,” he says of getting into action, the kind he’s paid for, but that’s that. And continuing in his straight forward approach, he was matter of fact about the now infamous saliva projectile toward Jorge Rivera’s corner after Bisping finished him convincingly with a second round TKO in UFC 127 in February. No gloating in recalling the whole messy situation, just laying it on the line.

“His people were giving prank calls to my gym all the time. I was getting calls at four in the morning. All the stuff on You Tube that was degrading to my family, but they thought was funny. I have never encountered a team like this before. No respect. I didn’t spit at him or anyone in his corner, I spat on the floor, my way of letting them know I won the fight and didn’t appreciate any of your actions,” Bisping added, “I didn’t know we were going there but that’s how it happened, why it happened.”

Not that I’ve changed an opinion of punishment or condone his behavior as I’ve written previously, and he was properly fined for that display,but hearing his calm explanation without even a tinge of surliness does cause for a drawn- and- quarterd punishment to be dismissed. His genuine sincerity about family and honor does resonate on a new level as does everything about him up close and personal.

If there is one thing that is our proudest achievement as we approach our 200th episode of Inside MMA, it is a moment like Bisping provided, to clear up issues, cut to the chase, remove speculation and eliminate false rumors. And to hopefully show the real person. Bisping did it all by himself on the show. He’s razor sharp with wit, rolls with impromptu response and is as engaging as any guest we’ve had on the show. Any misleading reports by what he called “nerds on the Internet,” any apprehension about having him as a guest were vanquished instantly.

He laughed heartily as he’s told there is nothing remotely resembling the fighting persona after meeting him in person. “I hear that often.”

And backstage he talked with pride and poignancy of his brother Konrad, an Army veteran seriously injured in the line of duty and how he’s rebuilding his life through athletics. The older Bisping is bigger than Michael, “I’m the runt of the litter with my brothers,” and has developed into one of the world’s best in both shot put and discus, a lock to represent Great Britain next summer in the Paralympics, commencing days after England hosts the Olympics. “He’s worked very hard. It’s been a difficult time for him and the family, but Konrad is so strong not just physically.”

He has moved from his Manchester, England home to Orange County, California. He is coaching against Jason Miller on The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 and will fight Miller on December 3 in Las Vegas. Not necessarily the kind of match up that will propel him upward in the UFC Middleweight ranks, but “the UFC has been good to me, they know what they’re doing. Miller is a well known fighter through “Bully Beat Down” on MTV and no I don’t think it’s the fight I would’ve chosen but he’s a tough fighter and I will be prepared to finish him.”

With two of the most colorful characters in MMA in the house the upcoming season should ratchet up substantially from a rather mundane Season 13. As Biasing sums it up, he and Miller “won’t be exchanging Christmas cards.”

But after meeting Biasing and spending some time, he just might make a few more MMA fans Christmas list. He’s got a heart in there a hundred times larger than the Grinch. Well Bisping,I hope you’re happy with destroying that bad boy Brit image, because it is shattered this week on Inside MMA

Watch Michael Bisping along with Marloes Coenen and Ben Grossman tonight on Inside MMA at 9pm ET on HDNet, also check us out on facebook and twitter

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