INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Michael Bisping doesn't think Luke Rockhold is being honest about how the new UFC 199 main event came together.
It was initially thought that Ronaldo Souza was the first choice to face Rockhold after Chris Weidman pulled out with an injury, but 'Jacare' couldn't go because he needed knee surgery. Bisping was the back-up plan and he stepped in.
Bisping, though, said Thursday at the UFC 199 pre-fight press conference that he heard from a "source very close to the UFC" that Rockhold turned down the fight with 'Jacare' in favor of a fight with him.
"Luke says that he's on a different level than everybody else and he's by far the best fighter and he can destroy anybody and this, that and the other," Bisping said. "Well, if that is the case, then it turns out he's a liar, because the guy has a bit of a vagina inside him because he turned down Ronaldo 'Jacare,' whatever his name is. He turned the fight down. I didn't turn this fight down."
Rockhold shot back that he "chose" Bisping over 'Jacare,' because Bisping will sell tickets and pay-per-views with his mouth. The back-and-forth exchanges Thursday's presser seemed to prove Rockhold correct. Bisping was in rare form.
"Fortunately, a clown like you will pay the bills," Rockhold said.
Bisping didn't want to hear it. "The Count" continued to mention that Rockhold turned down the 'Jacare' fight.
"Luke didn't want the Jacare fight," Bisping said. "He chose me. He 'chose.' That's a real good way of saying he turned it down. 'I chose you.' So you didn't choose 'Jacare.' I thought you were the big dog. I thought you were the big, swinging dick, man. You were the best in the world, buddy."
Rockhold laughed it off and then later attempted to clarify. He maintained the original story -- 'Jacare' couldn't fight due to injury -- was the real one.
"I didn't turn any fight down," Rockhold said. "I already beat you and I already beat him and I already beat everybody else.
"'Jacare' turned down the fight. I never turned it down. You were left and that's what we had and that's what we worked with."
Rockhold said he couldn't believe Bisping continued to talk crap even though Rockhold beat him by second-round submission in November 2014.
"I fucking knocked you out and I choked you out and you still have the audacity to run your mouth," Rockhold said. "That is the most amazing thing about you, Bisping. I know you can't see straight, but you obviously can't think straight, either."
Bisping said that Rockhold only wanted to fight him, because he was in Toronto filming a movie with Vin Diesel when he got the call about the fight.
"You're the best, but I choose Bisping," Bisping said. "'He's on a movie set, let's pick him. Pick the easy fight.' You picked wrong.
"Your reputation is already diminished. You already turned down 'Jacare.'"