It’s hard to believe that one of the UFC’s most bitter rivalries may never be settled inside the Octagon. That appears to be the case now that Wanderlei Silva has been pulled from his UFC 175 showdown against Chael Sonnen because of licensing issues. The two had spent the past year trash-talking one another and acting as the feature coaches in season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.
There were some people who were actually concerned about Sonnen’s well-being while filming in Brazil in the wake of all of his derogatory comments during his legendary feud with then middleweight champion Anderson Silva. “The American Gangster” came through the TUF Brazil experience just fine, except for one highly-publicized on-set brawl. Unfortunately, “The Axe Murderer” didn’t.
While Silva expressed outrage via Twitter about being pulled from the event and replaced by fellow Brazilian Vitor Belfort, which is ironic given that Belfort was recently yanked from a UFC title shot against Chris Weidman after the Nevada State Athletic Commission banned TRT, there are two smoking guns: the fact that Silva failed to apply to fight in the state of Nevada, and also failed to take a random drug test.
It seems hard to believe that, after all the wars that Silva has delivered over the years over his Pride and UFC tenures, that he would have reservations about facing Sonnen; however, “The American Gangster” had been adamant for the past couple of months that Silva would find a way out.
The fight did experience several delays, but it appeared as though Sonnen was wrong when the two took part in a press conference just last week to promote the July 5 event. However, in the end Sonnen was proven correct when the news broke that Silva was out and “The Phenom” was in.
Sonnen stated on UFC Tonight that the fight with Belfort will still be contested at light heavyweight but would produce a title challenger for the winner of the Weidman-Lyoto Machida fight that headlines the July 5 event. Incredibly, “The People’s Champ” now finds himself in a fight that can do a lot more for his career than a victory over Silva would have. Sonnen also wondered aloud whether this would be the end of Silva’s fighting career with the UFC.
If that’s the case, it would be a sad way for one of the most exciting and violent performers that the sport has ever seen to go out. Silva and Sonnen gave fans plenty of ammunition to get excited about their ultimate grudge match, but in the end it appears to have been much ado about nothing.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports