Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White wasn't fooling when he informed Vitor Belfort that Anderson Silva would receive the next Middleweight title shot against division champion Chris Weidman (details here).
Even though "The Phenom" is adamant that "nobody deserves the opportunity more than him."
White booked Silva vs. Weidman 2 for UFC 168, which takes place at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 28, 2013, hurting Belfort's feelings and leaving him in the lurch. And he is more than likely not going to be too pleased to learn that the world's leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion is trying to book him opposite mid-range talent Tim Kennedy next.
"We're setting a fight up with him right now," White told MMAFighting.com. "Lorenzo talked to his wife yesterday … we're talking about doing Vitor Belfort vs. Tim Kennedy in Brazil…."
Kennedy is coming off a slow-paced unanimous decision over fellow Strikeforce import Roger Gracie at UFC 162 earlier this month. It was his fourth win in his last five appearances, which included submissions over Melvin Manhoef and Trevor Smith and a decision over Robbie Lawler.
While tough, Kennedy's name is certainly not the step up in competition that would likely put a smile across Belfort's God-fearing face. In fact, he didn't even make Honorable Mention in the recent 185-pound Top 10 rankings (see them here). For what it's worth, with the exception of Constantinos Philippou, everyone near the top of the division is either taken or Belfort's beaten.
Perhaps the silver lining, at least for Belfort, is that UFC is attempting to feature him in another event in his native Brazil, which would mark the third time in four fights. In fact, Belfort has not competed in the United States since Aug. 2011.
And for those who think it's all because of his high-profile Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) treatment, White has a word for the conspiracy theorists.
"I don't care what heat it receives … the guy is being tested. Listen to me: The last thing fucking thing on Earth we would do is lie about something like this. Everybody always thinks there are these big conspiracies and shit. This is a massive, massive business, right? We're on FOX, we're regulated by all these athletic commissions. You think we're going to hide Vitor Belfort in Brazil so he can cheat? First of all, I would never fucking do that. Take me out of the equation and the company would never do that. There are no conspiracies here…. We're not hiding Vitor Belfort down in Brazil because he's drugged out of his mind and can't pass a test anywhere else -- that's completely false. Vitor Belfort is huge in Brazil and does very well down there. The people in Brazil want to see him fight in Brazil."
UFC Fight Night 28 is expected to take place somewhere in Brazil with a tentative date of Oct. 9, 2013; however, it's unclear at this time if Belfort vs. Kennedy is the desired main event.