Wanderlei Silva returned home from vacation in Panama yesterday, unpacking and unwinding, which is when he hatched his diabolical mixed martial arts (MMA) media troll job.
And from concept to execution, "The Axe Murderer" reveals that it took just seven seconds for diligent reporters from Brazilian media powerhouse, Globo, to spot his sinister Swedish Twitter.com claim and phone him on his personal cell phone to confirm the breaking news.
He obliged, and other outlets were just as quick to parrot the scoop, Silva -- fresh off perhaps the "Fight of the Year," a knockout victory over Brian Stann several weeks ago in the epic UFC on Fuel TV 8 main event -- was on a plane to Stockholm, Sweden, making an uncharacteristically quick turnaround to fill-in for the injured Alexander Gustafsson (more on that here) on just five days notice to headline UFC on Fuel TV 9 against Gegard Mousasi.
Silva revealed his ruse early the next morning, angering MMA media members who ate his wacky bait hook, line and sinker on April Fools Day, as well as "Dream Catcher," who had graciously accepted his unofficial challenge through the power of social media only to brand the Pride FC legend a "jack ass" when the punchline was posted.
There were likely more than a few irritated fans, too, which compelled Silva to recently issue a video apology for those who didn't like his fight funny.
"I want to wish Mousasi luck. And I am sorry. But, if you don't accept my apology, I am here and I also fight in the 205-pound division. Good luck, I hope both you have a great fight. I will be at home watching it. I think all of this was good marketing for the event. Everyone got views from it, some people think it's funny, some people get mad. Jokes happen my friends. Happy April Fools Day."
The video apology was evidently recorded before the promotion announced that Gustafsson's training partner, Ilir Latifi, was announced as his last-minute replacement when the Swedish MMA Federation ruled that he was unfit to compete at Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, this Saturday afternoon (April 6, 2013).
That decision is interesting because despite the buzz that Silva's prank created online, the promotion apparently never took it serious enough to call his bluff. And that could be unfortunate because Silva -- through his own contrived and timely attempt at twisted humor -- actually began to consider stepping up on short notice.
"I'm only not going because the UFC didn't call me. But, if they called me I would go. At a certain point I was rooting for the phone to ring. I told my wife, 'If Joe Silva calls me, I think I will go.' I was on vacation in Panama, but I feel good. I was like, with all these people supporting me, even I believed that it was going to happen. It was to move our emotions. Sorry to all my guys who support me. It was all a joke, I hope I made you cheer for a day…. To tell you the truth, I also wanted it. But, to face with Mousasi with just five days notice … Maybe the phone will still ring!"
At this point anything is possible, even the notion that Silva, 36, seriously contemplated such a quick return to the Octagon at this advanced stage of his career.
If indeed true, recent report has it that Gustafsson will need a new opponent in "two to three weeks" if Mousasi is unable, or simply not in the mood, to take up Silva on his unofficial, but bonafide, offer to settle their not-so silly score.