As the MMA world continues to talk about Chris Weidman KO’ing Anderson Silva at UFC 162 the UFC boss is looking ahead to a rematch. Dana White is not only guaranteeing a rematch but is reportedly targeting it for what could be the biggest UFC card of 2014.
A UFC event on Super Bowl weekend has become an annual show but this year is much different. Rather than taking advantage of the betting traffic in Las Vegas the UFC is coming to the Super Bowl. The UFC will be holding its event just miles away from the Super Bowl one day earlier taking advantage of all of the media in town for the NFL event.
Having an event on that weekend in the same city is a great idea. Having an event on that weekend, in the same city, with what could be the biggest fight in the 20-year history of the UFC is a whole other ballgame. Putting that fight on in that city at that time could be the biggest promotional coup in the legacy of UFC president Dana White.
It seems like an easy plan except for one tiny snag. Anderson Silva doesn’t want a rematch…or at least that is what he is saying. Silva told the world after his knockout that he doesn’t want the burden of the title and has no interest in another reign or rematch. Is he sincere or is this just a brilliant negotiation from The Spider? Dana White thinks it’s neither and believes that the former champion will change his mind once he settles down from the loss.
“Anderson Silva needs to go home, hang out with his family, take a week or two to shake this thing off,” White said following Saturday’s post-UFC 162 press conference. “There are times when guys will win a fight, and they don’t want to talk for three weeks. It’s really part of the process, it really is, and especially a big night like tonight. And when you lose the way that he lost, there’s a process for this.”
White believes that Silva will want redemption.
“Anderson plays a lot of things off publicly,” White said. “The guy went on this win streak because he’s an amazing competitor and is an amazing talent. He’s going to want to redeem himself.”
It’s a dangerous game that the UFC president is playing here. He’s played this game before where he promises fights at the same time the fighters say they don’t want the fight and he seems to always come up short in the end. Insisting that this rematch is taking place in the face of Silva saying he doesn’t want it may be another case of egg on his face.
It’s bigger than the money for the UFC but don’t get me wrong, it’s about the money. This rematch is already predicted to be the biggest rematch in UFC history. Early estimates are 800,000 buys for the first fight. Most analysts predict that a Silva vs. Weidman rematch will break the 1,600,000 buyrate set at UFC 100. Until it does it cannot be considered the biggest rematch in UFC history no matter what anyone tells you.
Until that happens there will always be this exclamation point of sorts on Weidman as UFC middleweight champion. It really is important for the legacy of the UFC and the title for this rematch to happen.
Update: Hours after publishing this story Lance Pugmire of the L.A. Times tweeted that Dana White told him that he is working on getting the rematch signed for UFC 168 on December 28. My hunch is that Dana has something else already in the works for the UFC Super Bowl weekend show because I have no idea why he wouldn’t want this fight there. The fight would co-headline with Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate. It should be pointed out that the original plan I saw reported for UFC 162 was for Rousey to fight underneath and promote the event as the best male and female MMA fighters in the world.