Japanese judoka Yoshihiro Akiyama seems to have had a change of heart because he has now agreed to fight Chris Leben at UFC 116 after the UFC elected to have Leben replace the injured Wanderlei Silva.
Earlier today we reported that Akiyama was none to pleased to find out that Silva’s replacement would be a former contestant from “The Ultimate Fighter,” but MMAJunkie has learned that July 3rd’s card will go on as planned.
Akiyama requested the bout with Silva, which he willingly accepted, and has spent the better part of a year training for the showdown.
“Leben is also not as high-profile as [Wanderlei] Silva and that does not help me,” the Japanese star told the Korean website Daum.net (thanks to Fighter’s Only for the translation).
“In the worst case, I will not take part in the [UFC 116] event. We are working hard to resolve this issue,” Akiyama continued.
Silva broke three ribs sometime last week during training and the damage was confirmed by three separate doctors. We also learned that “The Axe Murderer” had been dealing with a torn up knee that will need to be surgically repaired. He’s expected to be on the shelf for six months.