As if the event needed anymore turmoil regarding injuries after Chris Weidman originally pulled out due to a neck injury, Rockhold revealed to Bisping during Thursday's press conference that he had suffered a blown MCL and will still defend his title. While many people didn't doubt Rockhold's claim, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) took things one step further by confirming the severity of the champ's self-proclaimed injury.
"As soon as the press conference is over, the California State Athletic Commission calls and says, 'The fight's off, this guy says his knee is blown out,'" said UFC president Dana White in a recent interview with ESPN's Sports Nation. "It ends up, he sprained his knee 12 weeks ago. So, I don't know what the upside for him was in saying that. I think he was just trying to, you know, they were going at it [at the news conference], and he said, 'You know what? I think so little of you, I actually blew my MCL and I will crawl into the Octagon and beat you.' It backfired, because the California commission was ready to pull the fight."
Bullet dodged. Seeing a second main event participant get pulled, let alone the 185-pound champion himself, would have essentially rendered UFC 199 a bona fide FOX card with UFC Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz vs Urijah Faber serving as the headliner. There is nothing wrong with the Cruz vs Faber trilogy fight, but the entire purpose of the pay-per-view event is to see if Rockhold can begin to defend his title in fashion.
In hindsight, Rockhold probably shouldn't have said anything. It makes Bisping's claim that Rockhold was creating an insurance plan in case he loses look like a fat slab of truth.