Although the bout has already been announced for May 31 in Brazil, the fight between The Ultimate Fighter Brazil 3 coaches and fierce rivals Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva has yet to be finalized, according to UFC president Dana White.
“No, it’s not done yet. I gotta get that done this week too,” said White during a media scrum on Thursday in Dallas. The scrum was part of the promotional lead-up to Saturday’s UFC 171: Hendricks vs. Lawler.
Before everyone starts shouting conspiracy theories from the rooftops, however, it should be noted that White doesn’t appear the least bit worried that the fight will happen as planned.
“We’ll get it done,” he declared, although he wouldn’t reveal the reason for the delay.
Considering Sonnen has been a testosterone replacement therapy user, it would be logical to point to the recent ban on TRT exemptions by the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission, who followed the footsteps of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
White doesn’t believe that will be an issue, though, and he’s certainly not pointing to it as a reason for the fight not yet being inked.
“One of the things about Chael Sonnen, he’s a very good communicator,” said White when queried about TRT being a possible factor, indicating that he had not heard anything leading him to believe stopping TRT would force Sonnen out of the fight.
“So if Chael thought something was in jeopardy or something wasn’t gonna happen, he would let us know.”
The only hint White would give is that the contract hasn’t been finalized because of something that happened during filming of TUF Brazil 3.
“(Silva) is not balking at all. No, not even a little bit. Nope, it’s not over money either,” said White. “I can’t tell yah. It has to do with the show or I’d tell yah.”
As he noted, the UFC president hopes to get the details straightened soon and lay concerns about the fight to rest. But even then, it appears he’s not likely to reveal the delaying factor until the reality series finishes its run on UFC Fight Pass.
“We can revisit this in a couple months (after the show is over).”
(Photo courtesy of UFC)