The Spider has set his sights on his next opponent, and he’s willing to walk away from the sport of mixed martial arts if he doesn’t get his way.
Appearing as a last-minute guest on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Anderson Silva told host Ariel Helwani that should the UFC fail to book him against Yoel Romero for an interim middleweight title bout, then he’s done with fighting. It was a shock ultimatum from the legendary fighter, who has been without an opponent for UFC 212 in June since originally scheduled opponent Kelvin Gastelum failed a recent drug test for marijuana metabolites. At a press event earlier in April, Silva appeared in good spirits, jokingly “facing off” against himself for the assembled media.
Silva was in a much less jovial mood on Monday. When asked by Helwani what his status was in regards to UFC 212, Silva replied “Good question. I’ve stayed here in Rio for a long time, I start my training camp, I’m very frustrated. Because everything’s happening about my fight in Rio, I dunno, the guys don’t talk to me.” It’s clear that he feels left out of the loop, and doesn’t feel there has been any progress on an opponent made. “Nothing’s happened.”
So with that in mind, Silva wants the man who would be number one contender had Georges St. Pierre not jumped into a showdown with middleweight champion Michael Bisping: Yoel Romero.
“I say, ‘Okay I go fight Yoel Romero.’ Because I know I respect Yoel Romero, he’s a great fighter. He’s number one in the ranks” Silva explained. “But one thing, why Yoel Romero come to Brazil for fight me for nothing?”
According to Silva, Romero said he’d be happy to take a fight for an interim title, something the Cuban himself confirmed later in the segment. “I fight only with Anderson for the interim belt” Romero said. Otherwise, he stated, he’s waiting (for the winner of Bisping vs. Georges St. Pierre).
It appears the lack of a dance partner for UFC 212 isn’t the Spider’s only grievance, however. The UFC, he said, hasn’t honored promises made when he signed his most recent contract with the promotion.
“A lot of promises for me, for a long time, and nothing happens” Silva explained. “First of all when I sign my last contract, Dana White and Lorenzo say ‘Okay, when Georges St. Pierre is back, you go to fight [in a] superfight. You and Georges St. Pierre.’ I don’t know what happened. Nothing happened. Georges St. Pierre is back to fight, and back to fight for the belt” he said.
The clearly agitated MMA legend told Helwani “It’s terrible. This don’t make sense. I know this is a f***ing business, but I’m working hard for a long time. I saved UFC all the time. I don’t know what happened.”
And so Silva, upset with how he, and fans who paid to see him at UFC 212, are being treated, put it all on the line, tearing into the UFC for their treatment of him, and fellow middleweight contenders Romero and Jacare Souza (many, Silva included, feel both have long been deserving of a title shot). Then he brought up the subject of walking away, saying “I’m tired, trust me I’m so tired. I just talked to my team today, I talked to my friends, and my family, and I’m tired. If nothing happens, this fight no happens in Brazil, I’m done. I no fight more. I’m done.”
He reiterated the message later, confirming he’d walk away from his career if the interim fight he’s seeking wasn’t made. “I fight for long time in my life. And I’m tired, bro. I’m so upset. I have my legacy, I have my story” Silva said, later adding that he didn’t feel the UFC respected his legacy.
One last time, in case the message hadn’t gotten through, Anderson Silva put it out there. “The guys no give this fight for me for the interim belt, I’m done. I’ll go be with my family. I’m done.”
It remains to be seen if the UFC will give one of the greatest fighters of all time his way. The whole chat is well worth a listen, despite Silva being on perhaps the worst phone connection this side of 1992.