The rivalry between UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and pound-for-pound king Jon Jones has been simmering for years. So it's no surprise that things have heated up again between the two fighters.
Jones and Cormier were in Las Vegas ahead of their scheduled rematch at UFC 197 on April 23. The two made their first public appearance together at the UFC Unstoppable press conference, but the trash talking didn't wait for cameras to start rolling. In fact, things kicked off before anyone even entered the building.
Here's the breakdown of how it happened:
Earlier in the day, both fighters were going to sit down with Joe Rogan for an interview. Jones and Cormier, along with their entourages, showed up to the studio. One of Cormier's cronies, Chi Lewis-Parry — a 6'9" Glory kickboxing and One championship heavyweight — was with the group to help ahead of UFC 197.
Lewis-Parry apparently had never met Jones, but that didn't mean he wasn't shy about sharing his first impression:
"As soon as he steps outside, the guy turns into the biggest dick on the planet. Oh my God. Can I use profanity? He is a big, fat, chubby bitch. That guy is an absolute knob. Where I come from, you wouldn't give him the time of day."
And because of this, Lewis-Parry formed a firm opinion about Jones:
"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 bitch.'"
If you believe Lewis-Parry, this "attack" came at him completely unprovoked:
"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."
The back and forth between the two camps continued until everyone finally got in their cars and went their separate ways. But according to Lewis-Parry, that was just the beginning:
"A little more than an hour later, 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."
Lewis-Parry maintains his innocence in everything, claiming he's just a victim in all of the pre-fight hubbub:
"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."
The initial trash talking was caught on cellphone video and posted by Bleacher Report's Jeremy Botter. You can check it out here:
There's always two sides to every story and, logically, Cormier's crew is probably as innocent as O. J. Simpson, so what did Jones's crew have to say about the verbal tussle?
Jones's manager Malki Kawa heard Lewis-Parry's version and felt the need to call in to The MMA Hour to give his side of how things went down:
"We go outside getting ready to get into our cars, both groups. 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."
But what about Lewis-Parry? How did HE get involved in all of this and was he really all that innocent? Kawa had this to say:
"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's the end of that story."
Then Kawa talked about the second incident. According to him, the incident with Jones's older brother and Lewis-Parry was a continuation of the first incident and has nothing to do with Jones:
"Obviously we told [Jones's brothers] the story, and Jon was cool with it. 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."
According to Kawa, Jones's brother Arthur was nothing more then "collateral damage" in the trash-talking war:
"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."
Obviously, these two fighters (and the people that surround them) aren't going out for beers together any time soon. Now that Lewis-Parry has finally had some experience with Jones, he feels exactly what Cormier has been feeling all this time:
"Now I want Daniel to break Jones. I want him to batter him. Remember, don't talk shit 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 shit 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."
Lewis-Parry also added:
"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 assholes."
Yes, he clearly has "no time" for disrespectful people, but clearly has plenty of time to talk about disrespectful people. Fairly confident there were no truly innocent sides in this war and fairly confident the battle, both inside and outside of the octagon, is far from over.