As entertaining as it was, Wanderlei Silva‘s fiery video directed at Chael Sonnen wasn’t a guarantee they’d fight.
Silva, according to UFC President Dana White, apparently is dealing with an injury that will keep him out of the cage for the remainder of the year.
“He’s not going to be healthy until January,” White said following Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 27 event. “He can’t even start training until January.”
In other words, Silva is no closer to competing than he was when Sonnen openly challenged him in a recent interview.
Sonnen, a three-time UFC title challenger, submitted Mauricio “Shogun” Rua earlier this month at UFC Fight Night 26 and then used his commentator’s chair to call out “The Axe Murderer” for a fight at UFC 167 on Nov. 16 at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena.
In an interview prior to UFC Fight Night 26, Sonnen (29-13-1 MMA, 7-6 UFC) said Silva (35-12-1 MMA, 5-7 UFC) would never take the fight, but didn’t say why, and wound up calling out the former PRIDE champ anyway.
For his part, White said he’d try to make the fight, but also added, “I’m not sure if [Silva's] healthy. But if he’s healthy, I will definitely make that fight, and I will definitely make it the co-main event.”
Shortly afterward, the UFC president told MMAFighting.com that Silva had turned down the fight not because he was injured, but rather that he wasn’t guaranteed a portion of the event’s pay-per-view profits.
Fans might have expected Silva to respond to the claim during a video he promised to fans and media in the wake of the report. Instead, he ranted at Sonnen and promised a fight between the two.
White said he had heard of the video but hadn’t seen it. Nonetheless, he said he bore no ill will toward the Brazilian fighter, who most recently was seen in the cage in March, when he knocked out Brian Stann.
“I know publicly, it looked like whatever with Wanderlei,” White said. “I like Wanderlei very much, and I respect him as a fighter and a person. We’ll figure this thing out. There’s no animosity or anything like that.”
White added that he’d recently spoken to Sonnen but didn’t say whether he would fulfill the fighter’s other request to compete at UFC 167.
“He wants to fight on that 20th anniversary,” White said. “He wants to co-main that fight.”
As previously reported, that wish could turn into a co-main event against Phil Davis. So for now, Silva is on the shelf.
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.