Sonnen and Silva coached opposite each other on Season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, and months ago Sonnen teased that Silva would not show up on fight night.
After it was announced that Silva had been replaced by Vitor Belfort on the July 5 card in Las Vegas, Sonnen's prediction was validated, and many fans and critics claimed that Silva had committed career suicide and tarnished his legacy as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time.
Silva remained quiet on the matter until Friday, when he posted the video to his YouTube channel. He broke down the situation and provided the following points:
- An unidentified man came to Silva's gym "last Saturday," May 24, (this is presumably the part where he "literally ran" away) and presented papers, all in English, for the fighter to sign. Since Silva cannot read English well, he requested that his lawyer be present before he signs anything.
- After this, Silva had to leave to head to UFC 173 and the media obligations that came with it.
- Silva mentions his spotless track record when it comes to applying for licenses/taking tests and says that he planned to take care of everything when he got back from Brazil for The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 Finale on May 31.
- Silva becomes a little emotional when discussing the possibility of the fight not happening. (Newsflash: Right now, it doesn't look like it's happening.)
- "This is the fight I wanted the most in my entire life...All this will get resolved and I will be there on July 5 to put on a great show for all of you, my friends."
What are we to make of these comments?
Refusing to sign papers that you could potentially misinterpret is smart, but couldn't Silva have kept everybody in the loop and applied for a license at his earliest convenience? If he planned to apply after The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 3 Finale on May 31, he could still be on track to do that, but a month is not an incredibly long stretch of time, and he had to realize what was being said and transpiring regarding his bout.
According to NSAC Exec. Director Robert Bennett, Wanderlei Silva had "ample time" to file for a license to fight in Nevada & chose not to.
— Shaun Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) May 28, 2014
Near the end of the video, Silva seems genuinely convinced that he's still fighting Sonnen on July 5, but reports from UFC President Dana White indicate that Silva is definitely not on that card.
In all, even with the apology and the (sort of) clarification, Silva looks bad here. He looks like he doesn't know what's going on, and that may very well be a failing on the part of the UFC as well.
By now, one would think that Silva should know how the process works, and he should have been working to get everything ironed out so he's ready to go on July 5.
While Belfort still is not officially licensed to fight Sonnen at UFC 175, he's slated for the matchup, not Silva, and it doesn't appear that there is anything Silva can do to reverse this right now.
Stay tuned to Bleacher Report as more details emerge.