It felt fitting to sit myself down with Michael Bisping’s recently published autobiography, “Quitters Never Win” (Ebury Press, 2019) during the fight week for the inaugural Baddest Motherf—– title fight between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal. An early star of the Zuffa era courtesy of his brash persona and pioneering status in mixed martial arts in the United Kingdom, Bisping is today remembered as one of MMA’s original BMFers, who against all odds captured the undisputed middleweight championship in 2017 after a decade of competing under the Ultimate Fighting Championship banner.
Written by Bisping with the assistance of longtime UFC content writer Ant Evans, the 402-page book is broken loosely into three sections. The first 80 pages deal with Bisping’s early life. They include his upbringing in the working-class town of Clitheroe, 34 miles northwest of Manchester, England; his first exposure to martial arts in the form of Yawara Ryu — a version of Japanese jiu-jitsu — and Knockdown Sport Budo; his relationship with his parents, siblings and manager/mentor Paul Davies; his street fight-induced brushes with the legal system; and his related search for purpose in the fledgling sport of mixed martial arts. The next quarter of the book spans between his time on Season 3 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” where he emerged as the show’s breakout star and his devastating loss to Dan Henderson at UFC 100 three years later — the first of several title-eliminator fights in which he would participate. The remainder of the book chronicles Bisping’s efforts to constantly rebuild himself in the face of defeat and outrun an eye injury that left him partially blind, eventually culminating in his title-clinching performance against Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 and the brief championship reign that followed.
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