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Wanderlei Silva: UFC canceled its June 24 event out of respect for Bellator 180

Wanderlei Silva Birthday Party At Tabu Ultra Lounge Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Tabu Ultra Lounge

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is finally recognizing just how big and powerful Bellator MMA has become.

In fact, the promotion was forced to cancel its June 24 event to avoid ratings suicide. Not even UFC is brazen enough to run head-to-head with the upcoming Bellator 180 pay-per-view (PPV) fight card in New York City.

That’s according to event headliner Wanderlei Silva (via FOX Sports):

"Bellator is growing a lot. They have a much bigger number of shows now. They're really starting to build their champions, so kudos to them. The company growing non-stop, no doubt about it. Nowadays, Bellator is the number two company, but on June 24, everyone's saying it'll be number one. That's the day we'll beat the UFC, who cancelled their event and changed it to a different day out of respect for us. They're afraid of this show we're putting on, that will be huge, no doubt about it."

You can run but you can’t hide.

No doubt UFC will try, which is why it tucked tail and rescheduled UFC Fight Night 112: “Chiesa vs. Lee” for Sunday night (June 25) on FOX Sports 1. Headlining that event, which takes place in Oklahoma City, will be Mike Chiesa and Kevin Lee.

And I doubt anyone will be around to watch it, as most combat sports fans will have broken off into individual discussion groups to deconstruct the epic night of action that pits Silva vs. Chael Sonnen, as well as Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione.

Come and gawk at the rest of the Bellator 180 line up here.

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