Photo of UFC president Dana White (left) and Anderson Silva by Mark J. Rebilas via US PRESSWIRE.
"Sorry about the delay, pushing it back an hour here, we uh, Chael and I had to fly in from the states and things didn't go the way we anticipated. "
White says that the delay was due to the fact the he and number one middleweight contender Chael Sonnen held up the festivities due to problems in getting to the venue in a timely manner. That very well could be true, however, according to a report from Brazilian news outlet O Globo, that may not be the full story as to why the press conference to announce that the rematch between Sonnen and the UFC's 185-pound champion Anderson Silva was being moved to Las Vegas, was delayed.
In fact, the report, which is translated by Fighters Only, says that a "heated" conversation between White and "The Spider" backstage is what held up the announcement.
Apparently, Silva was very upset at the fact that the bout was being moved from his home country of Brazil to the fight capitol of the world, "Sin City," because he wanted to teach his bitter rival, Sonnen, a lesson in front of his fellow countrymen.
Dana's smooth negotiations skill ultimately prevailed, as he convinced Silva to take the fight in Las Vegas. It didn't come easy, though, and apparently the UFC had to throw in a little extra incentives for "The Spider" to agree.
Make the jump to see the translated report via Fighters Only:
The talk was heated - initially Anderson refused to change the venue of what could be the rematch of the century...The upcoming confrontation was set to occur at Stadium Engenhao in Rio, and would have been the biggest show of UFC history with 80 thousand tickets to be sold. But the date coincided with international events in the city and White alleged Rio would not have the infrastructure to hold the fighting event.
The champion was frustrated and insisted on fighting in Brazil. Anderson told Dana that Sonnen had been disrespectful with him, his family and all the Brazilian. "He deserves to taught a lesson here, I owe this to my people", repeated Silva. But Dana was adamant. "If there is no way to make the event in a stadium, it has to be in Las Vegas," said the company president.
Dana explained that Las Vegas is a city that has structure to promote the UFC from one day to the next. The capital of betting and fights is there, remarked the boss. He reminded Silva of the appeal that the bout will have in the United States, landing as it does in the week of the celebrations for Independence Day.
He spoke about the potential of the pay-per-view sales it would generate and in the end, he guaranteed a good percentage of the pay-per-view share to Anderson. As with so many things in life, money talks louder than anything.
After a lot of discussion Anderson concluded by turning to White and asking "Okay, so tell me - what do you want from me?" White answered, "I want you go to Las Vegas and perform well, make it a great fight." It was then the champion formally accepted the mission. "If it has to be like this, I will beat this guy wherever. He deserves a lesson."
Dana was excited with the ‘yes' of Anderson. He told him he was the "perfect UFC ambassador in Brazil" and also reaffirmed that the Brazilian "is the best fighter ever made in MMA - today everybody talks about Jon Jones but for me you are the best by far," said a smiling White...
The UFC plans to invest in academies in Brazil with the brand Anderson Silva/UFC. The event recognizes in Anderson the biggest MMA talent of all time and wishes to use his image even when he retires.
"Anderson knows this partnership with UFC is for life," Jorge Guimaraes told Noblat. "There are no motives to get into friction with the event, so we accepted to fight in Vegas. We don't go against the UFC, we go on the same side - after all, Anderson is their employee."
In the end, it seems, money does indeed talk. And its words, are louder than any coming out of White's mouth.
With a new date and place set for the biggest rematch in recent memory, expect fireworks to go down in more ways than one on Fourth of July weekend in Las Vegas.
What say you, are you surprised that White has to try very hard to convince his middleweight champion to fight the man who has been in his ear for the better part of the last two years, in the fight capitol of the world?
More on what went down at the UFC 148 press conference here.