A martial arts expert and former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) title-holder said he ran away screaming when he was asked for money by homeless Capetonians.
Michael Bisping, who is in Cape Town for three weeks filming the HBO series Warrior, described his experience in his podcast, Believe You Me.
The 40-year-old Englishman, who began the podcast claiming to be “in the shape of [his] life”, tells his story with offensive accents and exaggerated explanations of the “aggressive” nature of the beggars.
And he admitted being drunk when he was accosted at 3am on Saturday morning.
The evening began with a Chinese meal with the cast and crew of Warrior, which is set during the Tong Wars in late-1870s San Francisco, California.
“We end up having a few drinks. I get back, it’s like three o’clock in the morning and the Uber driver drops me off … and I don’t know which way to go,” said Bisping, a former UFC middleweight champion whose nickname is The Count.
“I’m stumbling around a little bit and all of a sudden, lo and behold, the freaks came out, the thieves came out, the muggers, the nasty f***ing criminal b****rds.
“Before I knew it, I was surrounded by 10 to 15 homeless people begging for money, and then they started getting kind of nasty. They were dangerous, trust me, I could see the look in their eyes.
“I start raising my voice, saying ‘stay the f**k back’. At this point now, because my defenses are up, I’m trying to be big, just like a lion in the jungle puffs out his mane … I’m puffing out my chest and I’m trying to look as scary as possible so these motherf*****s don’t make a move.”
Then, he said, “an old, burnt-out, fake cop car” arrived and two “wasted” men told him to get in.
“If I get in this car, I’m a dead man, simple as that, because they are gonna kill me or rob me and leave me for dead,” he said, adding that he screamed and fled.
“I’m backing up, there was a little opening, I was screaming and I just f***ing ran. They didn’t chase much, and I ran down the street and, lo and behold, there was my f***ing hotel.”
Bisping added: “You motherf***ers, don’t ever tell me this town is not dangerous.”
The fighter claimed the area around his hotel regularly experienced stabbings, robberies, and shoot-outs, and Warrior producers were looking to move him to new accommodation.
Cape Town mayor Dan Plato said on Thursday that the Cape Town film industry was making a steady recovery after a short slump, naming Warrior, Ridley Scott’s Raised by Wolves and Bloodshot, starring Vin Diesel, as productions filming in the city this year.
He said the film permit office received 11,726 bookings in the first nine months of the financial year, up from 11,350 for the whole of 2017/18.
“The film industry is more than just entertainment. It also contributes to our efforts to reduce unemployment,” said Plato. “It contributes approximately R5bn to the local economy annually and has created more than 35,000 jobs over three years.”
Plato said at least 400 people now worked at the Good Hope Centre, which the city council has rented out as a film studio.