This morning UFC President Dana White, Anderson Silva, and Chael Sonnen were all in attendance for a press conference held in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. It was announced that their highly anticipated rematch will be taking place in at UFC 148 in Las Vegas, on July 7th.
This announcement comes on the heels of a ProMMANow.com report that a UN meeting (to be hosted in Rio the same week as UFC 147) may force UFC to reschedule the Silva/Sonnen fight or the complete fight card, and UFC President Dana White confirmed the conflict of schedule has forced the main event to be moved to July 7th with major changes to the UFC 147 card imminent.
Silva was disappointed yet still upbeat about the changes, telling reporters in attendance:
“I don’t only have fans in Brazil, I have fans worldwide. I will still be representing Brazil wherever I fight. I will do my job as always and continue to be the holder of the Middleweight Championship.”
Sonnen also voiced disappointment in the location change. If the card had gone forward at Rio’s Joao Havelange Stadium, that venue (when modified for MMA) would have held over 55,000 fans and could have easily beaten the live gate and attendance records held by UFC 129 at Toronto’s Roger Center.
“It was disappointing to know, I was hoping to break attendance records. (However,) Las Vegas is the combat sports capital of the world. This is the biggest fight in the history of combat. We are going to the fight capital of earth. It’s going to still be the biggest sporting event on earth, July 7th.”
The press conference included continued barbs and verbal jabs by Sonnen, who called Silva’s Championship belt a fake belt and claimed to be the undefeated undisputed Middleweight Champion. Sonnen also donned a pair of fake glasses connected to a fake nose claiming that was the disguise he used to sneak into Brazil, but it backfired as “fans flocked to him, thinking he was Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.”
Silva remained stoic for most of the press conference; however after one question he claimed the best fight for him would be a fight against his clone. This boast was met by loud snoring into the microphone by Sonnen.
Silva and Sonnen’s original fight at UFC 117 was an instant classic featuring the brazen Sonnen dominating the Middleweight Champion for four and a half rounds before Silva was able to perform a miraculous comeback victory via triangle choke, forcing Sonnen to tap.
UFC 146 is still going forward, (minus the Silva/Sonnen headliner) but does not have a venue/location at this time. Reports circulated that the event will be moved to the Mineirinho Arena in Minas Gerais’ capital city Belo Horizonte, but Dana White shot down those rumors:
“As of now we are still trying to find a location. We’ll still have Vitor vs. Wanderlei, The Ultimate Fighter Brazil finales, Fabricio Werdum will still be on the card and we are trying to get Jose Aldo on the card also.”
It is another headache for the UFC during a period where two major fights have now ended up in limbo or in need of restructure. Despite having to find a whole new Brazilian location and arena for UFC 146, Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen being moved to the UFC 148 card brings some headaches of its own. Sonnen, (who now with the bout moved from Brazil, will not face 55,000 people chanting ‘you’re going to die’) still has to get licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Although there will be a great disappointment all around from losing such a momentous headliner for the Brazil card, with the Middleweight championship being put atop the UFC 148 card it will be an absolute colossal event.
Confirmed by UFC.com for this card so far is a Bantamweight Championship bout between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber, Tito Ortiz’s expected retirement bout in the rubber match against Forrest Griffin, Rich Franklin returning from a long hiatus to fight the exciting Cung Le, polarizing figure Michael Bisping taking on Tim Boetsch, Demian Maia taking on Dong Hyun Kim, Melvin Guillard vs. Fabricio Camoes and the exciting up and comer Renan Barao taking on Ivan Menjivar,
If those fights go forward, with the middleweight championship fight added to the top of the card, it makes an absolute super card that could rival or surpass UFC 100 buy rates and views.