Justin Gaethje: Michael Bisping ‘not my favorite commentator,’ but I didn’t mean to throw him under the bus



UFC 286: Gaethje v Fiziev
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Justin Gaethje is the first to admit that emotions run high after a fight.

The former interim UFC lightweight champion would love it if fighters were never judged for the things they say in the immediate aftermath of such a tense situation — in his case, comments he made about Michael Bisping‘s commentary during the fight between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman at UFC 286.

It was during his appearance at the post-fight press conference that Gaethje called Bisping “unprofessional” for the way the UFC Hall of Famer called the main event, though he conceded he was biased while watching his teammate Usman, who ultimately lost a majority decision.

Bisping didn’t take offense to the accusations and understood that Gaethje was just backing up his friend.

Looking back, Gaethje acknowledges he was a prisoner of the moment, which led to his shot at Bisping.

“I wouldn’t talk to us for a week after we fight,” Gaethje told MMA Fighting. “We’re so emotional, and yes, seeing my teammate lose made me more emotional.

“The night before at weigh-ins they did a Qandamp;A, and I thought [Bisping] was more biased in that situation, and that rubbed me the wrong way, so really anything he said was going to piss me off, especially because my teammate was fighting. So I think his assessment was spot on. I think I was probably overly emotional.”

According to Gaethje, he watched Edwards vs. Usman 3 from the backroom just moments after his unanimous decision victory over Rafael Fiziev in the co-main event. So his adrenaline was definitely pumping as he watched Usman take to the cage.

More than anything, Gaethje felt Bisping was talking up Edwards more than Usman thanks to their English roots. But he certainly didn’t mean to question the UFC Hall of Famer’s legitimacy as a commentator.

“I didn’t mean to throw Michael Bisping under the bus,” Gaethje said. “I thought that he was a biased commentator that night watching from the back. I thought there was some comments made that were unprofessional, but I thought it was due to the fact that they were from a common place, and that’s all I was saying.

“I don’t believe that’s false. I believe that’s true. But I also started it off by saying I’m just as biased or more biased than him. So it is what it is.”

Of course, Bisping and other fighters who now work as part of the UFC’s broadcast team have been lambasted in the past for comments made during certain events. It’s not the first time and certainly not the last that a commentator has been accused of showing bias for or against another fighter.

When it comes to Bisping specifically, Gaethje said he’s probably held a slight grudge against the ex-UFC middleweight champion ever since he first arrived in the promotion, and he always keeps his receipts.

“I have no ill will against Michael Bisping,” Gaethje added. “He’s not my favorite commentator. I remember him talking s*** about me when I first came in fighting Michael Johnson. So I’m a pretty petty person, and some things you don’t forget.”

As far as someone Gaethje admires on the UFC’s broadcast team, he looks no further than the promotion’s play-by-play man since 2016.

“I would say [Jon] Anik,” Gaethje said. “I think Anik [is the best], his passion is unmatched.”

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