It’s pretty obvious at this point that Michael Bisping and Jorge Rivera won’t be exchanging holiday cards this year, but the back and forth between their camps isn’t slowing down either.
After a couple of days of silence from Bisping following the controversy that swirled at UFC 127, his team at Wolfslair MMA, specifically manager Anthony McGann, released a statement alleging unprofessional conduct by Rivera and his coach Matt Phinney.
It was that unprofessional attitude, according to the statement, that provoked Bisping during the week of the fight and not necessarily the videos Rivera and his sponsors at Ranger-Up produced mocking the former “Ultimate Fighter” winner.
The rebuttals don’t stop there however because with Phinney’s actions now being brought into questions, Rivera’s team at Alchemist Management has taken up his cause as well. They stand by the fact that Phinney did nothing wrong, while also stating Bisping should be happy that the result turned out the way it did because he now has every top middleweight gunning for him now.
“There are two sides to every story. Mr. Bisping has accused Jorge Rivera’s camp of being unprofessional, focusing his rage on Rivera’s striking coach, Matt Phinney. Coming from someone who has been recorded multiple times on video spitting on Phinney and making obscene gestures and using homophobic slurs toward him, this it the pot calling the kettle black.
Mr. Bisping’s accusations about Phinney’s conduct are simply untrue and we feel that this is his attempt at damage control in light of the impending punishment being levied against him by the UFC and the irrevocable shame that his name will forever be linked with. Mr. Bisping says the illegal knee he threw was unintentional, but a professional fighter knows better.
He secured a Muay Thai clinch on Rivera while both of his knees were on the ground, chambered his leg, and threw the strike. A professional fighter knows when to pull the trigger on a strike and when not to, so the statement that it was unintentional is baseless. Jon Jones was disqualified for an illegal strike against Matt Hammil yet Mr. Bisping delivers an illegal strike and walks away a winner because Jorge Rivera chose to fight on.
We would like to remind Mr. Bisping to look at the bigger picture. The videos Jorge Rivera and Ranger Up produced were meant to sell a product. The intent was to hype a fight, not to insult anyone. They did just that. More fans tuned in to watch that fight than were expected and now Mr. Bisping has exactly what he wanted in the first place – four middleweight contenders calling him out.
His profile has been pushed higher than it ever has been and he will get the fight he wanted with top tier contenders. He no longer has to chase them. They are knocking on his door, so he will profit from the marketing campaign launched for this fight. We all feel the incidents that unfolded in Sydney are unfortunate and ugly. It’s not good for MMA or the reputations of the fighter’s involved and we look forward to moving past this.”
At least for now, moving on isn’t happening fast, but this may mark the end of things, at least until UFC president Dana White weighs in on how he plans on punishing Michael Bisping for his actions at UFC 127.