Wanderlei Silva has finaly responded to reports on Yahoo! Sports and UFC.com in which the UFC and Dana White claim Silva recently turned down an opportunity to fight Chuck Liddell at UFC 76 on September 22.
Silva has issued his response via a video now posted on his web site. The video is in Portuguese, but thankfully MMAWeekly.com has translated it for their audience.
According to MMAWeekly.com, this is what Silva said:
I never said that I wouldn’t fight Chuck. I’ve wanted this fight for a long time. I received a contract with two options, I could fight in September or November. I have chose to make this fight in November. I was the first to want this fight, but they kept avoiding this fight. Now there’s a lot of people saying that I have ducked Chuck. This is not true.
Apparently the September 22 date just doesn’t work for him right now.
I am in a moment of transition in my life. I’m going to move to the U.S. in a few weeks. I’m going to live in the U.S. and there’s a lot of things happening, and I’m not focused on training the way I want to be. I always fought at the time the promoters wanted. Sometimes I did things I should not have done, but this time I won’t do that anymore.
Silva has a point. He’s a guy who fought injured as he went to the hospital in the days leading up to the fight against Dan Henderson to be treated for strep throat. Silva never used it as an excuse but I know who were with Pride at the time and they’ve always maintained he was in bad shape and probably had no business fighting. A lot of point also fault him for his knockout against Cro Cop but he was fighting outside of his weight class in the GP and he deserves credit for taking fights that most top light heavyweight guys would have shied away from.
And according to Silva, the fight with Liddell is still on:
This fight is on, if he Chuck doesn’t hide behind this mess.
Silva’s story and the UFC’s story are similar that an offer to fight Liddell was indeed on the table. However, they still don’t add up. If Silva was indeed offered an option and chose November, why would the UFC go to such effort to claim the fight is a not going to happen? And why would Silva leave a message on his official web site on Wednesday claiming the match is a done deal for September 22 when he’s now saying he agreed to the bout for November?
Maybe the UFC is angry he chose November over September, leaving them without a main event for 9/22 in Anaheim? But if that’s the case, then why would they have even given him November as an option?
This really doesn’t make sense to me. White is claiming the match is off and that he doesn’t think it will ever happen while Silva is claiming he’s decided on November as to when he’ll fight.
What it comes down to is that there is three sides to every story: in this case, Silva’s, White’s, and the truth. I think the truth lies somewhere in between Silva’s account and White’s account. At the end of the day I’m sure the real issue is money and that if the money aspect is figured out, we might actually yet get to still see this fight. I don’t think Chuck is afraid to fight Wanderlei and I don’t think Wanderlei is afraid to fight Chuck.
Another thing I wanted to communicate is that while I was watching Silva’s video (of which I could not understand a word of, but I like the way he talks) I started having flashbacks of how the Phil Baroni vs. Frank Shamrock main event was promoted. Dana has said he believes Chuck vs. Wandy will be the biggest MMA match in the sport’s history and perhaps a page is being stolen from Baroni and Shamrock and they are promoting the match on the Internet before they go public with it and promote it to the mainstream.
To read MMAWeekly.com’s report, click here.
And to view Wanderlei’s video message, click here.
Updated: Rudimar Fedrigo is quoted at http://portaldovaletudo.uol.com.br/s…rna.php?id=918 as saying that the message which appeared on Silva’s official web site claiming the fight was a done deal was unconfirmed information and blamed the site’s webmaster for posting it prematurely. Well, that answers one question.