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Michael Bisping explains why he won’t accept Luke Rockhold’s bet -- he doesn’t want any excuses

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Matt King

It didn’t take long for the feud between Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping to heat up at Wednesday night’s UFC Fight Night 55 press conference in Sydney, Australia. The UFC’s managing director for operations in Canada, Australian and New Zealand, Tom Wright -- fresh off a long flight from Toronto -- had barely introduced the main eventers to the media before the barbs started to fly.

After Bisping gave a brief introduction, it was Rockhold’s turn.

"I’m excited," he said. "I’m used to the main event, and I’ll be very comfortable in that position. I’ve gone five rounds a couple of times, but I’m very accustomed to one-round fights myself, too. I have ten of those that have finished in the first round, and this will be my eleventh."

"Well I have 15 first round finishes compared to your ten, just for the record, Lukey boy," Bisping shot back. "And I’ll make this easy, just to use your line."

Here Rockhold asked if any of those finishes came in the UFC, which triggered another back-and-forth before Wright could even open the floor to the media for questions.

The first question centered on Rockhold’s proposal for a bet between him and Bisping, in which he would give Bisping his entire purse if he didn’t score a first round finish, and would receive Bisping’s if he did. When told that Jason Parillo, Bisping’s striking coach, wanted in on the bet, and asked where things stood with it, Rockhold explained that the bet wasn’t taken.

"[Bisping] backed out of that," Rockhold said. "He said it was…a bad example for your son, is that what I heard through the grapevine?"

"Here’s the thing, I’ve never been finished in one round in my life," Bisping said. "And when I beat you, I don’t want you to have the excuse that, ‘oh, I was going all out in the first round so I could finish you because I wanted to win this bet.’ Obviously, if you look at me and you look at Luke you can clearly see that Luke needs the money. I dress in the fanciest clothes, Luke…Luke you’re supposed to wear a suit here, it’s a press conference.

"Incidentally, I get paid four or five times more than you. There’s a reason why that is. Perhaps I will donate you some money to got out and buy yourself a suit when I kick your ass on Nov. 8."

Rockhold, who is going against a seasoned veteran in trash talking, was shorter in his caution.

"Bisping, no amount of training you do is going to save you from the beating you’re about to endure. I promise you."

Here Bisping laughed, and regaled the media with a recent story about Rockhold.

"This isn’t the WWE," Bisping said. "Let me tell you a little story guys. Saturday night, I was working FOX calling the fights, and Luke’s friend Daniel Cormier is a regular on FOX and he’s talking to Luke, and he says, ‘Bisping, you’ve got to hear this.’ So he puts it on loud speaker, and Luke’s screaming like some kind of possessed maniac, like some bully going, ‘you don’t understand, Bisping, I’m going to walk through your pitter-patter punches, you’re in a world of pain, you’re in trouble.’ And I’m just laughing my head off. He’s absolutely hilarious. I’ve had over 30 professional fights, if you think you intimidate me, if you think you scare me, then you are so mistaken my friend. Okay? I’ve fought many of you, many times.

"Just relax, and I’ll see you on Nov. 8."

When Rockhold said he respected those comments, but that the Brit had no idea what was in store for him, Bisping fired away again.

"It’s funny, there’s a little tag team, for those diehard MMA fans, there was an event in San Jose recently [UFC 177]," he said. "Luke Rockhold and another San Jose native, Cung Le, we’re both up on the stage, giving a little back-and-forth, a little tag team, a little circus act looking like a pair of douchebags, saying, ‘oh yeah, you’re going to beat him, I’m going to beat him, you’re going to beat him -- ooh, let’s all beat him!’

"But 50 percent of that duo, Cung Le, that ended with him having three broken ribs, a broken jaw, a broken nose…if you think about pitter-patter punches, I don’t know if Cung Le’s checked out of the hospital yet? But if he has? Or when he does? Maybe go and see him, and talk about those pitter-patter punches."

Here Tom Wright jumped in and took the second question.