Michael Bisping rules himself out of UFC 206 due to fractured orbital

Michael Bisping wanted to fight at UFC 206 next month, but it looks like that is no longer an option.

On Wednesday’s edition of “UFC Tonight,” the middleweight champion ruled himself out of the December pay-per-view card, stating that he is still recovering from a fractured orbital and a leg injury.

This was Bisping’s response to Ronaldo Souza’s recent interest in fighting the champ. Souza was booked to fight Luke Rockhold next month, but Rockhold pulled out due to injury earlier this week, prompting Souza’s manager to ask for a title shot.

“I’ve never ducked anybody in my life,” Bisping said on FOX Sports 1. “Now, I know what everybody at home is going to say: ‘Didn’t you call out GSP a couple of weeks ago?’ Yes, I did, but really, think about this — that was a massive payday. Roughly $3-4 million dollars I would have earned for that fight. Against Jacare, I’m going to get around about a quarter.

“As you all know, I fought Dan Henderson very recently. I have a fractured orbital. I’m getting PRP (platelet rich plasma) injections. I don’t know what they are, but it sounds fancy. I’m getting them on Friday in my leg. I’m limping around the place. I’ve got a fractured orbital.”

Just over a week ago, Bisping revealed that he was cleared by doctors after his UFC 204 title defense against the aforementioned Henderson and that he was healthy. He also stated that he was still willing to fight former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre at UFC 206. Two days later, the 185-pound titleholder said that he verbally agreed to a fight opposite the Canadian.

But after St-Pierre declared himself a free agent (despite UFC denying his claims), Bisping moved on to pushing for a fight with Nick Diaz, a longtime welterweight contender who hasn’t won a fight in five years.

Bisping made no mention of his current injuries — in fact, he brushed them off, saying that “my leg is a little bruised, but a bit of ice and a few more days and I’ll be good to go” — during his St-Pierre and Diaz campaigns. Bisping made it clear he was unable to compete at UFC 206 only after “Jacare,” a top five middleweight contender, expressed interest in fighting for the belt.

Bisping captured the middleweight title in the main event of UFC 199 this past June. He stepped up on short notice against Luke Rockhold and scored a shocking first-round knockout win to claim gold. He defended the belt for the first time in October.