We've passed along several reports -- even the day after UFC 71 in May -- that former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell would face former PRIDE FC middlweight champion Wanderlei Silva sometime this year.
UFC President Dana White has been uncharacteristically careful about confirming the showdown since that time -- perhaps because he got burned bad when he publicly announced the fight in front of the world at UFC 61 ... and it never happened.
He's even outright denied in interviews that it will happen as early as September.
Today (Wednesday), however, "The Axe Murderer" posted on his official Web site that the long-awaited clash is indeed booked.
Or is it?
Here's the full snip (loosely translated from Google):
"The hour arrived!
The date of the fight of Wanderlei Silva is confirmed. It will be day 22 of September, in U.S.A., place and schedule not yet defined.
The confrontation between Wanderlei Silva and Chuck Lidell already had been divulged has about two months, and now it increases the expectation of the fans in following the final preparation.
After many challenges, Lidell will have the chance to face intense Wanderlei, that are in constant preparation, treinos and an infinite will in winning this confrontation.
Also other fights for the UFC are marked: In UFC 74, day 25 of August, they will face Randy Couture and Gabriel Gonzaga and day 09 of Quinton September Jackson face Dan Henderson, for UFC 75."
Update: Despite this development, Kevin Iole from Yahoo!Sports is now reporting that the deadline to consummate a deal between Liddell and Silva was yesterday (Wednesday) and an agreement was not reached in time.
Iole has, apparently, the latest scoop from White and says the fight is now "dead, probably forever."
Here's a snip:
"... White said Wednesday he was told by a member of Silva's Chute Box team that Silva did not want to fight Liddell. White said the deadline for having the fight made was Wednesday."
And a snip mash from White:
"This is the worst news I could have possibly gotten. It's horrendous. I have been trying to make this fight for six years. I have done everything in my power I could do over the last six years to make this fight and it's still not happening. I just don't see it happening now. This just happened (Wednesday afternoon) and I'm not sure what we're going to do. We're trying to figure it out. It's not a fun time right now."
If this latest update does indeed ring true, White is left without a main event for a UFC 76. Even though Liddell-Silva was not a title fight, it would have been a HUGE draw.
White -- who clearly wants to see this fight happen more than anyone -- mentioned numerous times before these latest negotiations for UFC 76 were revealed that Liddell will most likely fight next in November.
That could be the case now that this deal has been, reportedly, killed.
I'm not sure what to think about this situation -- it seems like one big contradiction. White says it's dead, yet Silva says it's alive and well on his Web site.
Rest assured that if this does come to fruition, we will hear an official announcement as soon as possible.
It's too big to keep secret for too long.
But let's just say at this point the situation doesn't look nearly as good as it did just 12 hours ago. In fact, the prospect looks bleak.
UFC 76 is scheduled for September 22 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. and will feature the debut of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua" vs. Ryoto Machida.
(Thanks to UFCmania reader "Chris" for the latest update.)