Jorge Rivera’s loss at the hands of Michael Bisping this past weekend was harder for Rivera to swallow than his other past losses, but not because of the grudge between the two that developed directly as a result of his taunting of Bisping through video.
Rivera took a blatantly illegal knee to the head from Bisping in the first round, which had him downed on the mat for close to three minutes trying to recover, while Bisping celebrated with the crowd. Rivera eventually rose from the blow, but would go on to get finished in the second round by TKO. Bisping has maintained that the knee was not delivered illegally on purpose, but Rivera recently told MMAFighting.com that he isn’t buying.
“That knee was deliberate, and I’ll tell you exactly how I know this,” Rivera said. “I went to sweep him, and first of all, I want to say that he was at the press conference talking about how he’s the better fighter, he’s got better jiu-jitsu, better wrestling, but he takes me down, fine. I go to sweep him and he holds on to the fence. He holds on to the fence the whole time. … And then, within 30 or 40 seconds of doing that, he knees me [illegally] in the head. I’m on all fours, he winds up and knees me in the head. Then he puts his hands up, walks over to my corner and says, ‘He’s the (expletive).’ Now if that wasn’t deliberate, I don’t know what the (expletive) is.”
It is difficult to speculate whether or not the illegal knee made a significant impact on the fight, or led to Rivera getting knocked out, but “Él Conquistador” told MMAFighting that the blow had him rocked and that he continued on in an attempt to back up his words and show his fighting spirit.
“I was hurt, man. I was hurt,” he said. “But the truth of it is, I knew that most of the people that were there, were there to watch this fight. I knew the hype was built up, they wanted to see it, and I didn’t want it to end like that. It’s just not in me to quit. That’s not how I wanted it to go. …I would have liked a few more minutes [to recover], but the truth is, they want to know if you can continue now. They want to know how hurt you are. I just wanted to put on a show.”
“I was hurt, but this is what I do for a living,” he continued. “I promoted the hell out of this fight, I talked a lot of (expletive) about this fight, I talked a lot of (expletive) about him, and it’s my job as a professional to go out there and do what I do. … When I was down and everybody’s asking me if I’m able to continue, I’ll tell you exactly what was going through my head: I fight. I have to fight this guy. There’s no way I’m going to sit here and get the W this way.”
Rivera falls to 19-8 as a professional and had his three-fight UFC winning streak snapped by the loss.