Michael Bisping: UFC ‘Had to Use’ Bus Rampage to Promote Khabib vs. McGregor

Former middleweight champion Michael Bisping stands by the UFC's decision to use footage from Conor McGregor's tirade through the Barclays Center to promote his upcoming fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov.

What UFC president Dana White once called the ‘most disgusting’ incident in company history is now being used to promote arguably the biggest fight card of all time.

In the lead up to UFC 229, commercials have already started building the hype for the fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor by using footage from an infamous altercation that took place back in April

After Nurmagomedov had confronted fellow UFC fighter Artem Lobov earlier that same week, McGregor flew from Ireland to the United States to payback the Russian for cornering his teammate and he was going to do anything possible to get at him.

What resulted was McGregor launching an attack on a bus carrying numerous UFC fighters, including Nurmagomedov, in an attempt to go after him for his confrontation with Lobov. McGregor ended up being arrested and later pled guilty to disorderly conduct while fighters such as Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg suffered injuries during the melee that knocked them out of their fights that weekend.

UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas has also spoken numerous times about how she’s still traumatized by what unfolded in Brooklyn that day.

While there still may be pending civil suits coming after McGregor for his actions that day and an active champion openly haunted by what happened, the UFC didn’t bat an eye at using the footage from that incident to promote the upcoming main event on Oct. 6.

While it may irritate a few people or disappoint others, former middleweight champion Michael Bisping says there was no way the UFC couldn’t or shouldn’t use that footage to build up the anticipation for the showdown between McGregor and Nurmagomedov.

“Dana White is a very smart man and that right there is the best marketing for a fight because it is a fight,” Bisping said recently on “UFC Tonight”. “It’s not a game, it’s not a match, it is a sport but still it is a fight. They almost had a fight right there.”

The mayhem that ensued that day was unfortunate but Bisping knows better than anybody how the UFC will always try to take a negative and turn it into a positive when promotion is involved.

This situation mirrors an ugly incident a few years ago when Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier got into a full blown brawl in the middle of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas that spilled out into the crowd and media assembled for the event.

While it was a bad look at the time, the footage was quickly transformed into a commercial to promote the fight between Jones and Cormier months later.

As much as some people may not want to admit it, Bisping says the incident just organically creates interest in the fight.

“There was some extracurricular activities going on. There were dollies being thrown, there was a lot of foul language, which I didn’t approve of if I’m to be honest guys, let’s keep it PG,” Bisping said with a laugh.

“But of course they had to use that. That is the best Countdown that you’ll ever see.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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