SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27: Michael Bisping of Great Britain celebrates his victory over Jorge Rivera of the USA in their middleweight bout part of at UFC 127 at Acer Arena on February 27, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
The Wolfslair MMA Academy has released a response to the controversy surrounding Michael Bisping's actions during and following his UFC 127 fight with Jorge Rivera. The camp points to Rivera trainer Matt Phinney as the major source of Bisping's issues. From the statement:
"These video’s were made with two purposes. One was to promote their tee shirt line ranger up and the second was to goad Mike into a brawl as this was their only chance of winning the fight. Okay well no problem so far, business is business and if that’s how they rely to win a fight then more power to them. The video’s poked fun at Mike in a personal way and to English people in general and had a huge amount of success. If you combine the numbers on YouTube over the four video’s I believe were in the half million bracket. That is phenomenal considering the campaign was over three weeks. So let’s be clear this wasn’t just banter going back and forth it was significant. Once again at this stage still no problem. It was adding hype to the fight."
"The real problems begin in the hotel in Australia. As always fighters are staying in close proximity in the hotel for over a week and during the day the camps pass each other. Normally the fighters will be tense with their opponent but the teams always remain neutral and polite. Rivera’s crew were mocking mike and laughing at him and Jorge even gave an interview to Fanhouse saying if Mike was a man he would confront him in the hotel."
The statement also discusses the actions during the fight:
"This fight was not your normal fight, the hype was immense and I am sure the fans felt this. The illegal knee was what it was, Mike was over excited and timed it wrong. He is not known for illegal blows although this does happen in the sport from time to time. Whilst Rivera was recovering, Phinney was shouting obscenities to Mike if you look you can see Mike give him the finger in reply. He was also hurling abuse at our corner men, once again this behaviour is unheard of in the UFC. Anyway YouTube videos and goading Mike did him no good and Mike dispatched him with ease."
"Mike was still emotional and asked Rivera for an apology, still Phinney was shouting abuse and Mike replied to him, Mike did spit but on the floor in his direction not on him. Phinney was hurling abuse at Mike and our corner men the whole time. His behaviour at the cage was disgusting and unbefitting of the UFC and I won’t go into any more detail as Phinney doesn’t deserve any notoriety. He does not reflect in anyway the normal conduct of us and the rest of the teams. If that’s how he has behaved at other events then he needs to go back to them. Although I believe that after this we won’t be hearing much of Mr Phinney anymore."
I don't really think there is much more to say about the situation. We've ran articles from BE writers on both sides of the issue. But I do think it's important to note that while cameras were trained on the fighters in the cage we don't really know what is being said by camps at ringside in many cases. Not that this would be an excuse for the spitting incident, but the release at least frames the situation as one other than "Bisping wins, then goes and spits on innocent cornerman." If you choose to believe that or not is entirely up to you.