Nobody would argue that Wanderlei Silva isn’t a gutsy fighter. Unfortunately his recent actions are giving UFC president Dana White second thoughts. Silva has turned down two fights including a rematch with Vitor Belfort. Instead, Silva wants a crack at Chris Leben but the boss isn’t interested.
Former PRIDE FC champion Wanderlei Silva has been on a long hiatus from fighting. UFC president Dana White is ready to change that. White wants a long awaited Wanderlei Silva vs. Vitor Belfort rematch at UFC 130. The middleweight showdown would compliment July’s Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard rematch. The only thing preventing this star studded fight is Wanderlei who is more interested in trying to chop down Chris Leben than his old foe.
“We asked him to take [a fight with Stann], and he turned it down,” White said. “He said, ‘I don’t like it because everybody likes this guy.’ That’s kind of a weird philosophy, but I’ll accept that. Wanderlei’s a warrior. He always goes out there. So we offered him the Vitor fight, and now he’s on Twitter lobbying to fight Chris Leben,” White said.
Yes, Wandy is a Twitter nut! Wanderlei tweets more on some days than the Kardashian girls. Wanderlei has indeed taken to Twitter in hopes of publicly pressuring the UFC into making a Leben vs. Wanderlei fight.
“I think with chris Leben I go have a tuff figth him is good opponent,he want and I want lets go figth,” tweeted Silva. Additionally, Silva retweeted numerous tweets from MMA fans who agreed with him and want the UFC to make the Silva vs. Leben fight. Dana White isn’t interested.
White responded, “I don’t want him to fight Chris Leben, I want him to fight Vitor Belfort.”
I honestly believe that Wanderlei is looking at this from a business point of view more than anything else. At 34 years old with 45 tough fights under his belt, Silva probably only has one or two years of professional fighting left. He knows he isn’t beating Anderson Silva or Jon Jones so go with the money over chasing the title. Stann vs. Silva will only appeal to hardcore MMA fans and I don’t think anyone is rushing out to see Vitor fight after being knocked out by a kick to the face. Leben vs. Silva is the biggest money match here.
I can’t understand White’s reluctance to make the fight. The only reasons I can think of are that a)Belfort has a big contract and needs a name opponent in order to make it pay off and b) Leben’s legal situation surrounding issues from last year could make White gun shy about booking him before his situation is completely cleared up. Otherwise I am with Wandy, I think Leben vs. Silva is a fun fight and a fight that fans would pay to see over the other proposed fights.
My gut feeling says that at the end of the day if White really wants Silva vs. Belfort II, it will happen.
Thanks to MMAJunkie.com for the tip!
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