Looks like the UFC 168 middleweight title rematch between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva won't have a special guest referee.
During a face-to-face interview with MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani, UFC president Dana White said that Chael Sonnen was "delusional" if he really thought he had a chance to referee the blockbuster rematch at the UFC's annual year-end pay-per-view.
Here's White's reaction when asked if he'd be OK with "The American Gangster" officiating the matchup:
"No," White said after a brief chuckle. "If he thinks that (Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director) Keith Kizer will license him as a referee, he's more delusional than I thought he was."
Helwani spoke with Sonnen on Tuesday about his UFC Fight Night 26 headlining bout with Mauricio Rua this weekend, where "Uncle Chael" expressed his interest in refereeing the upcoming middleweight championship fight (via MMA Fighting):
I'm unbiased as a journalist. I mean, you're the insider you probably know, but I'm putting in an application. I'm gonna try to get my referee's license and I'm hoping to officiate that match. Whether they'll assign me to it or not, I've reffed plenty of matches in other jurisdictions and I'm applying for that one in Nevada.
In all fairness, the newest member of the Team Reign Training Center also acknowledged that unless he works a "show or two" in Nevada before Dec. 28, it is unlikely he'd get the opportunity to ref the Weidman-Silva rematch.
Sonnen enters Saturday evening's event, the company's debut on the Fox Sports 1 network, after losing back-to-back title fights to Anderson Silva and Jon Jones, respectively.
However, Sonnen boasts a 7-1 record in his last eight nontitle matchups.
Meanwhile, "Shogun" is just 5-5 inside the Octagon, though he has never lost consecutive bouts in the UFC and most recently came up short against upcoming title challenger Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on Fox 5 in December.