Whether or not the UFC wanted to try and keep Anderson Silva on the upcoming UFC 212 fight card, the former middleweight kingpin has declared he will not fight on June 3 on his home turf in Rio de Janeiro.
“I really wanted to fight in Brazil, in my country, but it will not happen,” Silva said during a live Instagram video interview with UOL on Sunday.
Silva had been conducting his training camp in Brazil, but said that his team had broken camp and he was returning to his home in Los Angeles.
“I wanted to apologize for this. I wanted to fight here, but it did not happen,” he continued. “I think I was wronged in this, but that’s it.”
Silva had originally been slated to fight Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 212, but everything went sideways when Gastelum was pulled from the fight card after having tested positive for marijuana on the day of his bout with Vitor Belfort at UFC Fight Night 106 on March 11 in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Gastelum, according to a report by MMA Fighting, reached a settlement with the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission to serve a 90-day suspension, pay a fine equal to 20-percent of his purse, and had his victory over Belfort changed to a no contest. Though he has settled with the Brazilian commission, Gastelum still faces possible sanctioning by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which administers the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.
Regardless of any further sanctioning, Gastelum is out of the fight.
The UFC reportedly made an attempt to line up several other opponents, including Luke Rockhold and Belfort, but Silva declined, seeing the fights being offered as a step backward for his career. Top middleweight contender Yoel Romero and Silva angled for a fight at UFC 212, both of them agreeing between them that they wanted to fight, but there was a sticking point; they wanted the fight to be for an interim middleweight title.
It’s unclear if the UFC would have entertained the fight minus the championship caveat, but company president Dana White shot down any idea of the interim designation.
The question now is: what does Silva do?
The former middleweight champion, in an interview on The MMA Hour, said that if the UFC did not grant his request to face Romero for the interim middleweight title, he would retire.
“(I’m) just waiting for Dana’s decision for put on this fight for me and Yoel Romero,” Silva said. “It doesn’t happen, I’m done. I go back to my home. No more fights.
“This fight, me and Yoel Romero, no happen. I’m done.”
With White shooting down the fight with Romero and Silva packing his bags, we now wait to see if Silva blinks or if he follows through on his threat to stop fighting.