The Ultimate Fighting Championship initially issued an email stating Tuesday’s press conference in Brazil was to start at 10AM ET/7AM PT. Fast forward 60 minutes and UFC president Dana White, middleweight king Anderson Silva (Pictured) and Chael Sonnen were nowhere near the podium.
“Sorry about the delay, pushing it back an hour here,” White stated. “Chael and I had to fly in from the States and things didn’t go the way we anticipated.”
While everything White opened the presser up with was true, the last piece appears to be the prominent reason the mixed martial arts world was placed on pause. According to Brazilian outlet Globo, White and Silva were involved in a “heated” debate backstage after “The Spider” was informed his highly-anticipated scrap against his archenemy would no longer take place in his homeland at UFC 147.
“[Sonnen] deserves to take a lesson here, I owe it to my people,” Silva reportedly continued to repeat [via Google translate].
After manhandling Silva for nearly five complete rounds at UFC 117, Sonnen was abruptly submitted with only 110 ticks remaining on the clock. Since the August 2010 defeat, Sonnen has been doing everything within his power to land a rematch – including insulting every Brazilian fighter within earshot.
The UFC was planning to host the blockbuster sequel at Rio de Janeiro’s Engenhão Stadium, but the United Nations is holding a massive conference in the city that same week and the town simply isn’t big enough for the both of them. White pleaded with Silva that Las Vegas, being “the fight capital of the world,” was the most logical Plan-B.
After 75-minutes of intense deliberation, Silva finally conceded to his boss’ demands. It’s not like he had much of a choice, “UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen II” billboards were already plastered throughout the room where the media was anxiously waiting for the presser to begin.
“Okay, Dana, then tell me what you want from me,” Silva said. To which White flatly responded, “I want you to go to Las Vegas and fight well, make a great fight.”
“If it must be so, I’ll beat this guy anywhere. He deserves a lesson,” Silva responded.
Minutes later, the middleweights took the stage and it was confirmed their title tilt had been moved to July 7th inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Nevada.