In a live video chat on his Instagram Sunday evening, Anderson Silva announced he would not be on UFC 212, stating he was canceling his training camp in Rio de Janeiro and heading to Los Angeles to be with his family.
“I really wanted to fight in Brazil, my country, but it won’t happen,” Silva said.
Silva was supposed to face rising middleweight Kelvin Gastelum on the show but Gastelum got pulled from the fight after failing a drug test.
Last Monday on “The MMA Hour,” the former UFC middleweight champion vented about a perceived lack of respect shown to him by Dana White. Also during the interview, Silva passionately said if he didn’t get an interim title fight against Yoel Romero, he would retire.
White on Saturday called Silva’s bluff, saying he wasn’t getting a chance to fight for the interim belt and if Silva’s talking about retiring, then he should leave the sport.
“Every time, for the last however many years, dealing with Anderson, it’s always interesting,” White said. “Obviously, he wants an interim title. Obviously, we’re not going to do an interim title.”
“He’s definitely coming out publicly and, you know my philosophy on that, if you ever say the ‘R’ word, you should probably do it anyway. If you’re considering retirement, you should probably do it.”
Silva being off the show is a huge blow to the event. The card really needed him considering the main event is a featherweight title showdown between Jose Aldo and Max Holloway — neither guy is a needle-mover on pay-per-view. Having Silva on the show would give it a moderate boost. Add in the fact that Silva isn’t going to be fighting for too much longer and having him compete in his home country in front of a sold-out crowd is something he deserves as a legend of the sport.
But what he doesn’t deserve is an interim title opportunity against Romero. As great as Silva is, he’s only won one of his last six fights — and that victory was controversial. Many ringside observers thought Derek Brunson should have gotten the nod in their February bout but the decision was given to Silva.
Interim titles are getting handed out like candy on Halloween. White made the right call this time around as you have to take a stand at some point on creating secondary title fights.
White called Silva’s bluff and Silva responded in turn. Hopefully cooler heads prevail here and we see “The Spider” in the cage again soon.
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