The rivalry between UFC lightweight heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and pound-for-pound king Jon Jones reignited in a major way last week. With Jones finally back in the UFC fold, the two made their first public joint appearance at the UFC's Unstoppable press conference in Las Vegas, trading insults ahead of a scheduled April 23 rematch at UFC 197.
But apparently things got heated well before the cameras ever started rolling.
Earlier in the day, Cormier and Jones were tasked with shooting a dual Faceoff interview with Joe Rogan to air during UFC 196. Both men had members of their respective teams in tow. One of those teammates for Cormier was Chi Lewis-Parry, a 6'10" GLORY kickboxing and ONE Championship heavyweight who is training out of American Kickboxing Academy to help ahead of UFC 197.
The former basketball bigman said he had no prior opinion of Jones -- a man whom he had never met before -- however that ended once filming wrapped.
"As soon as he steps outside, the guy turns into the biggest dick on the planet," Lewis-Parry said Monday on The MMA Hour. "Oh my God. Can I use profanity? He is a big, fat, chubby b***h. That guy is an absolute knob. Where I come from, you wouldn't give him the time of day. Now, my opinion is: zero respect for the guy. He just started smack talking and using stuff that I wouldn't repeat to Daniel, and we just kind of lost it after. I was just about to get into the car and leave, and he made it personal when he says, ‘yeah, go on, get in the car you big b***h.'
"And I'm not being funny. You don't know me, I haven't said a word to you, so there's no need for you to even really interact. You're fighting Daniel. You're not fighting me. And then he's standing there with his hands in his pockets like he's God's gift or something, I just said to him, ‘look, if you really want to get around this security guard, you can.' But he just stayed hiding behind this 600-pound security guard who couldn't catch a tennis ball if you threw it at him."
Some words were exchanged until both crews climbed into their respective vehicles and drove to the press conference. But according to Lewis-Parry, that wasn't the end of it.
"A little more than an hour later," Lewis-Parry said, "we're backstage for the press conference and he sends his big, fat, chubby brother, Anastasia Jones, whatever his name is, and he wants to start talking smack, defending Jones. It seemed like he was hiding behind it, personally. I don't care how tough the guy thinks he is, he was hiding behind his brother. His brother was calling me all sorts whilst he was backing up. I'm not a big fan of disrespect. I never disrespected them. I never said anything to them, and they all became fans of me."
Partial footage of the initial back-and-forth was posted by Bleacher Report's Jeremy Botter and can be seen below.
Cormier actually ended up referencing the exchange during the UFC's Unstoppable press conference, confronting Jones about the insults that had been traded just hours before.
There are two sides to every story though, and after hearing Lewis-Parry's retelling of the events, Jones' manager Malki Kawa called into The MMA Hour to recount his own description of how things went down.
"We go outside getting ready to get into our cars, both groups," Kawa said. "DC said something to Jon. Jon told him, ‘DC, outside of anything we have to do together, don't talk to me. Just keep it professional.' DC started mouthing off. So that mouthing off led Jon to then begin mouthing off to the whole crew, because then they all started getting into it with Jon. That's how the whole thing went down. Jon's not disgusting. He's not a bad guy. He's none of this stuff that this guy was saying. This dude obviously is looking to get some sort of notoriety off of Jon and Cormier, so I'm going to give it to him for a little bit. But that's about it.
"Then he's here saying Jon was mouthing off and the security guards were there, and he was telling them (off). The same thing he was saying about Jon is the same thing he could've done. There were two security guards there. Between both of them, they were yards apart, and Jon told him, ‘hey Tiny, get in the car,' something to that effect, and he turned around and starting mouthing back to Jon. Jon walked back, and he stood right where he was at. That the end of that story."
Kawa went on to state that the second incident, between Jones' older brother Arthur and Lewis-Parry, was simply an extension of the first and had nothing to do with Jones.
"Obviously we told [Jones' brothers] the story, and Jon was cool with it," Kawa said. "He just thought the whole thing was just kind of standard. This is standard DC stuff. We had an altercation with DC for the last fight. It's just how it goes. And when Arthur saw that it was this guy, this guy was basically trying his brother, Arthur jumped in his chest. He came up to Arthur trying to give Arthur a five, or something like that. Arthur said, ‘man, get away from me. You don't got to touch me or say what's up to me after you tried my brother.' And that's what happened there. So this guy is trying to paint this story like Jon is the bad guy or the one who was starting these problems, and it really wasn't the case at all."
Regardless of when the tensions first arose, it is clear there remains no love lost between Cormier and Jones.
Though after experiencing "Bones" for the first time in person, Lewis-Parry understands exactly where Cormier's animosity is coming from.
"Now I want Daniel to break Jones," Lewis-Parry said. "I want him to batter him. Remember, don't talk s**t beyond the promotion. Don't make things personal. The guy is disgusting. He is a disgusting person, the stuff he was saying. He makes things really personal. And sometimes, I agree, because I'm probably one of the biggest s**t talkers around. I understand about promoting a fight. But when you start bringing personal things in, family, stuff like that, that ain't promoting a fight. That's just being a dick. And Jon Jones is a dick.
"I've just got no time for disrespectful people, and he is one of the most disrespectful people I've ever met in my life. And that's saying a lot, because I've met a lot of a**holes."