Michael Bisping didn’t do much to gain a larger fan base with his UFC 127 win over Jorge Rivera. The British fighter struck his opponent with an illegal knee to the head in the first round of their co-main event, but claims that it was in no way intentional.
Ultimately, the strike cost Bisping a point, but it didn’t matter. Rivera did not appear to be the same fighter after the knee to the head. He continued fighting anyway. Whether or not the strike was intentional makes no difference now, but that didn’t stop Rivera’s management company from releasing a statement regarding the situation.
“The knee was illegal and flush on the face,” read the statement from Alchemist Management. “But instead of taking a dive and possibly the win, Jorge fought on – unlike Jamie Varner and Rich Attonito. Bisping tagged Jorge while both of his knees were on the canvas. He wasn’t the same afterward, but fought on anyway. How many fighters would be able to fight on after that?”
Rivera’s management also claimed Bisping spat at his opponent’s corner. This came after what they consider to be a premature ending to the fight.
“The stoppage was quick, but we won’t fight it,” they stated. “He won. That’s all there is to it. But for all his talk of being a professional, Bisping spit on Rivera’s coaches when the fight was over. How can you claim to be a professional after that?”
At the post-fight press conference, Bisping was asked about the incident where he allegedly spat in the direction of Rivera’s cornermen. He was quick to dismiss it.
“Just one classless move after another, I suppose,” said Bisping. “The knee certainly wasn’t on purpose. You get excited in the heat of the fight. He was getting up off the ground, I had him in a Thai clinch, I was waiting to time it.
“I got a little overexcited and I pulled the trigger too early. It happens quite a lot. It’s a fast moving sport. I certainly didn’t mean to do it and I was very glad the fight was able to continue. No one wants to see a fight won or lost in that fashion.
“Regarding after the fight, there was a lot of emotions. He was very, very insulting to me, very insulting. He was mocking me on the Internet, saying all kinds of things, making stupid videos, talking about myself and my family. All kinds of stuff. I bit my tongue and I said nothing, but it’s kind of… built up inside me. I blew up a little bit and I apologize for that. I shouldn’t behave like that, but I think he just needs to accept he got beat and get over it.”
Clearly, the bad blood between these two fighters did not find a resolution in their match-up. Sometimes, fighting it out in the Octagon is just not enough. The Bisping-Rivera showdown is perfect evidence of that.