The UFC Fight Night 124 card took a couple significant blows in the days leading up to the event, but company president Dana White said on Sunday night that one of those blows could have been softened a bit.
The UFC lost a bout for its first event in St. Louis when Zak Cummings had to withdraw from his fight with Thiago Alves because of injury on Friday, just two days out. Then, on Saturday, Uriah Hall was deemed unable to weigh-in because of medical reasons. Hall had been slated to fight Vitor Belfort in the former champion’s retirement fight.
Following the event, White revealed that Belfort could have remained on the card in St. Louis, but opted not to.
“This thing went down (with Hall dropping out), we worked quickly and we got Vitor a fight. He could have fought tonight; he chose not to. Then we got him a fight in Boston (at UFC 220); he chose not to fight then. I don’t know who the opponents were, but they told me we got him two fights. We got him a fight tonight and we got him a fight in Boston. He turned both down,” said White, who flew in for the fights in St. Louis on his return from vacation.
Whether or not Belfort will fight out the final fight on his contract remains to be seen, but White said that he expects to have a conversation with Belfort and see what they might be able to line up.
“What I’m hearing is he wants to fight Michael Bisping in London,” White continued. “When I get back to Vegas and get back in the office, I’ll talk to Vitor, I’ll talk to Mike, we’ll see what happens.”
Although Bisping has made a career of stepping up when the UFC needs him, he is also planning on retiring after his next fight, and hasn’t sounded too keen on his final opponent being Belfort.
He reportedly told MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani, “I detest Vitor. Do not want to be associated with him in the slightest,” when rumors sprung that Belfort was angling for a fight with the former UFC middleweight champion.
While Bisping may be opposed to the match-up, it has a certain appeal. Both are former UFC champions that have spent the majority of their careers fighting in the Octagon. It would be a rare sight if they both actually did retire following the bout.