Rivera says knee was absolutely deliberate
Considering he just went through a fight that saw him get hit with an illegal knee while down, Jorge Rivera is feeling okay.
“I’ve seen better days, but I’ve seen worse,” offered the 38-year-old middleweight from his hotel room in Sydney, Australia less than 24 hours after his much-discussed meeting with Michael Bisping at UFC 127. “I’m alright; I’m not hurt or anything like that, other than the knee obviously, but I just want to take some time off to relax and spend some time with my family, but then I’ll be back.”
Ah yes, the knee.
There is no question that the blow was illegal and that it changed the course of the fight. What is far more difficult to ascertain is whether the blow was a calculated, intentional move or a heat-of-the-moment move that Bisping inadvertently delivered.
The British fighter denied the act was intentional following the bout, but his actions after leaving his opponent folded over, head-down on the canvas paint a different picture as far as Rivera is concerned.
“There’s no [expletive] way you can tell me that knee wasn’t deliberate. He grabs the fence when I go to sweep him, and 30 seconds later he knees me in the head. Then he runs over to my corner and tells them I’m a pussy. That is a deliberate action; that is something done purposefully.
“This is what I want people to know, that that shit was not unintentional; you don’t knee somebody in the [expletive] face when he’s on all fours, run to their corner, to make it a point to run to their corner and say, `He’s a pussy.’
“You cannot tell me that that was not intentional. Then to know this man’s character, and know how he behaves, and how he carries himself, it just lends further credence to what I’m saying.”
Outside of the blow he suffered on Saturday night, the Milford, Massachusetts native believes that the time is right to explore stiffer penalties for dangerous fouls that occur inside the cage.
“Nobody is greater than the whole sport; no one should be allowed to do [what Bisping did without penalty.] It shouldn’t matter that [Bisping] is the poster boy for over here; poster boys are going to come and go, and the sport is going to remain.
“Mike Tyson was the poster boy for boxing for a while, but look at the shit that guy went through? And I love Mike Tyson, but I’m just using him as an example. No man is greater than what we do.”
It’s a point that must be discussed moving forward. No one would be talking about whether or not Bisping intended to throw the knee, or the Brit’s character had the blow caused serious, lasting damage to Rivera.
Thankfully, that was not the case, and while Rivera admits that he would make the decision to continue every time, he knows that fighter safety is key and wouldn’t have objected had the fight been stopped.
“This is what I do for a living. I know people came here to see this fight, and I’ve seen other fights that get well-hyped up and a guys gets kneed, and the fight is over.
“I got hit flush in the face, (laughing) that’s all I can tell you, and I’ve seen guys get hit with a lot less, take the W, get their bonus and everything else, and walk away from it. I hyped up this fight, I know people didn’t see a good fight, I wasn’t going to walk away from it like that. If I get knocked out, so be it, but that’s not how I wanted it to end.
“Like we said, no man is greater than the sport,” continued Rivera prior to departing for a Sydney tattoo parlor to have the Ranger Up insignia permanently etched on his skin. “I’m not going to be the guy who’s half-out and ends up getting killed or whatever. It’s like when they asked me to go to the hospital; I don’t want to go to the hospital because it takes a lot of time, it’s a pain in my ass, I’ve got other things on my brain, I don’t want to do it.
“But when I’m sitting in the hospital, I’m thinking to myself that if I’m seriously hurt right now and don’t even know it, I’ve got to fly out tomorrow, what if the altitude is going to mess with me? What if I die, you know what I mean? When things are done on the side of safety, I don’t have a problem with that. There is a purpose and a reason for that, and I don’t have a problem with that. This is human life, and life is precious. I totally get it.”
For now, Rivera will head back to Milford and spend some much-deserved and desired time with his family, but this is surely not the last time we will hear from “El Conquistador.”