Bisping won via stoppage 1:54 into the second round, but his performance was marred by an illegal knee and a spitting incident postfight. Rivera said Bisping spit on his cornerman, but Bisping said he spit on the floor.
“What he did to my cornerman by spitting on him, that’s unforgivable,” Rivera (Pictured) said on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “That’s inexcusable. That’s always going to stay with all of us.”
The cornerman, Matt Phinney, portrayed Bisping in a series of prefight videos that mocked the Brit. Rivera acknowledged that the videos were intended to get under Bisping’s skin, but he also said he let Bisping know they would be coming out.
“I told him they’re going to get a little personal, whatever,” Rivera said. “You can make your own. You can do whatever you want, but they’re coming. It wasn’t like a total surprise. If he wanted to take it personal, I didn’t care.”
Bisping clearly did take the videos personally. Rivera, however, believes there was nothing wrong with the prefight back-and-forth.
“In all honesty, that’s what it should be like,” Rivera said. “At the end of the day, you have to go in there and kill each other anyways. This is what we do for a living. If you can’t have fun at yourself and laugh at yourself, you’ve got bigger issues.”
Rivera laughs about the drama now, but he still has a strong distaste for how the fight ended and what came after.
“I was embarrassed by how the whole thing went down,” he said. “I was a little bitter. Did I think about quitting? A little bit, but I was angry to the point where I just -- I wanted vengeance. Because I know the reality of the situation. It’s time to move on. I probably won’t get that fight. I have to take it for what it is. That was kind of hard, but once again, that’s life. I’ve had a lot worse happen to me in my life. I just have to accept it.”
Next up for Rivera is Constantinos Philippou on Saturday at UFC 133. A Serra-Longo representative, Philippou replaces Alessio Sakara, who had to withdraw from a matchup against Rivera for the third time.
“At first I was in disbelief,” Rivera said of his reaction after hearing Sakara was out. “I thought my manager was just playing around with me. Then he was like, ‘No, I’m dead serious.’ For a moment I was just like, ‘All right, well.’ I mean, what can you really do? If the man says he’s injured, he’s injured.”
Rivera turned to the Internet to research Philippou.
“I know his obvious strengths,” he said. “He’s got good power in both hands. He’s got a good left hook. He’s got a good short left hook too. It’s something I’ve got to keep my eyes on. I saw that his weakness would be on the ground. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a ground game. I’m well aware that he’s training with Matt Serra. I know Matt Serra personally. I’m sure that he’s getting him ready.”
With a win, Rivera can take another step toward putting the Bisping bout behind him.
“After a loss you always want to improve,” Rivera said. “You always want to come out and do better. No doubt I want to do a lot better this fight than that last one. I try not to hold grudges. Does it upset me? Yeah. Do I think it should have gone another way? Yeah. But that’s life. You keep moving on.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 45:05).