Article by Neil Davidson, Canadian Press (CP)
One month after announcing that Wanderlei Silva had been signed to fight in the UFC and would likely face Chuck Liddell in November, the UFC has backed off of those claims in a Canadian media interview.
Pride has not yet commented on the UFC’s statements. Here is the full article, courtesy of the Canadian Press.
Liddell Silva fight could be off, according to UFC president
by Neil Davidson, Canadian Press (CP)
It appears the much anticipated mixed martial arts bout between rival champions Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva scheduled for November might be off.
“I don’t even know if Silva’s going to happen,” Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, told The Canadian Press in an interview.
White cited problems in dealing with the Japan-based Pride Fighting Championships that is home to Silva.
White said UFC 65 will instead probably feature Liddell against Tito Ortiz in a rematch of UFC 47 in 2004 when Liddell battered and bloodied the Huntington Beach Bad Boy.
The Liddell-Silva bout was considered a blockbuster matchup, finally bringing the rival UFC and Pride organizations together
Liddell (18-3-0) is the current UFC light-heavyweight champion at 205 pounds. While the Iceman has been out of commission recently with a toe injury, he remains the face of mixed martial arts in North America for many.
Known as the Axe Murderer, Silva (24-3-1) is a fighting machine who holds the Pride title. He has appeared in the UFC before, losing to Ortiz at UFC 25 in 2000 in his last outing in the Octagon.
The UFC, now looking to expand to Europe, has had the U.S. market largely to itself. Pride dominates Japan, using pay-per-view shows and Fox Sports TV to spread the word.
Complicating matters is the recent announcement that Pride is staging its first ever show in North America, The Real Deal!, in UFC’s backyard of Las Vegas on Oct. 21.
“Obviously there are a lot of things going on,” White said of the Pride situation. “I’ll [tell] you this, the Japanese are very hard to do business with and you never know what’s going to happen.”
The UFC surprised viewers at UFC 61 last month in Las Vegas when Silva and Liddell met in the ring for a stare down as White announced their bout.
The Liddell-Silva fight was contingent on Liddell defeating Brazil’s Renato (Babalu) Sobral at UFC 62 on Aug. 26 and Silva surviving Pride’s Final Conflict Absolute card Sept. 10 in Saitama, Japan.