When Dana White said Jones vs Machida better f’ing happen or he’d call another press conference, the undertone of that comment was clear: Bones better agree to fight Lyoto or he’d be in big trouble. Turns out Dana was worrying about the wrong guy:
The strange saga of UFC 151 continued last night when it was revealed light heavyweight contender Lyoto Machida has decided to decline a shot at 205-pound champion Jon Jones’ belt based on the abbreviated preparation period for a September 22 showdown. Adding another unforeseen twist, seasoned stand-up artist Vitor Belfort was named as Machida’s replacement, making a move up from 185 pounds to challenge for one of MMA’s most prestigious titles.
Interestingly enough, not only did Machida turn down the fight with Jones, so did Shogun. Vitor Belfort talks about stepped up:
I just finish the call with my boss @lorenzofertitta and @danawhite I want to thank booth for put me in where a lot of guys are acting like divas I think this is a big challenge for any fighter that is alive on the game I thank God to provide me with this Blessing 2 fight the youngest champion we will face each other I have all the respect for jones thats why u can`t miss this competition a vintage and hy-tech fight Glory to Jesus also happy for all the fans I will not let no one down I come from the times of #carlsongracie He live inside of me I learn so much thing with him and #alstankie
A lot of people are kinda pooping on this fight but Vitor did used to be a light heavyweight and when you’ve got bitches turning down fights left and right what are you supposed to do? We had several fights that fit perfectly: Chael Sonnen on September 1st and Lyoto Machida on the 22nd. Of course replacements past that are starting to get a bit wonky.
Amazingly enough, there was one other Brazilian ready to step up and help out: Anderson Silva offered to fight at UFC 151.
Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva (32-4) was a little too late as he offered to fight a light heavyweight fighter on the now cancelled UFC 151 card, in an attempt to save the show. Dana White said he received the call from Silva moments after he concluded yesterday’s special media conference call.
Since Jon Jones (16-1) would not fight on eight days notice, Silva said he would take on another light heavyweight. He also admitted that he wasn’t in the best shape at the moment.
White said that he never thought Silva would be willing to fight on the card, but was thankful for the offer. Silva stated earlier this year that he didn’t plan to return to the Octagon until early 2013.
At least there are still a few superstars willing to fight.