Dana White isn’t caving to Anderson Silva’s recent interim title shot ultimatum
The longtime former middleweight champion and MMA legend recently appeared on “The MMA Hour” to demand an interim title shot against top contender Yoel Romero at June 3’s UFC 212 from Rio de Janeiro, and if he didn’t get it, he said he’d retire after being disrespected by the UFC. In fact, Silva cited Georges St-Pierre’s immediate middleweight title shot versus Michael Bisping as disrespectful to the entire 185-pound class because “GSP” has never fought there.
With that a sentiment many fighters seem to be sharing about the UFC these days, UFC President Dana White told TMZ that Silva is always ‘interesting’ to deal with, the promotion won’t be creating an interim middleweight title, so Silva can just retire:
“Every time, for the last however many years, dealing with Anderson it’s always interesting. You know obviously he wants an interim title, obviously we’re not going to do an interim title. He’s definitely coming out publicly…and you know my philosophy on that, if you ever say the ‘R’ word, you should probably do it anyway.
“If you’re considering retirement, you should probably do it.”
White continued taking the hardline stance with the longtime star who may just be the promotion’s biggest bankable, active star with Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, and Jon Jones out of action and uncertain to return. Reiterating there would be no interim title, White cited the supposed fact that Bisping was willing to take on Romero for the title – even if he reportedly has a bout with St-Pierre coming up sometime “after October.”
According to White, it’s not the UFC’s fault that Kelvin Gastelum, who was originally scheduled to fight “The Spider” at UFC 212, got pulled off the card after failing a USADA drug test for marijuana metabolites:
“We will not do an interim title. No, it won’t happen,” White said. “Bisping’s ready, willing and able to fight the actual No. 1 contender, who’s Yoel Romero. I mean Anderson Silva’s ranked No. 7 right now. If he was willing to take the Romero fight for June because he was supposed to fight Kelvin Gastelum.
“Anderson’s mad. I didn’t pull Kelvin Gastelum out. Kelvin Gastelum smoked weed and now he got busted and we’ve done everything we could to make another fight for Anderson. So it’s nothing we did.”
While it isn’t the UFC’s fault Gastelum got got using a banned substance – no matter how trivial it may seem – it is their decision to take such a harsh stance on a man who was their unquestioned top draw for several years, an era of dominance that has not been replicated since outside of Demetrious Johnson’s shall we say, different reign over the less-touted flyweight division.
It’s also even magnified much further by the fact that the UFC is struggling for a top-level fight arguably more than they ever during a dismal beginning to 2017, so challenging the biggest who’s currently willing to fight inside your cage may seem counterproductive even if we’ve consistently seen White call fighters’ bluffs and push back with his own response.
That may have worked during he and the Fertitta brothers’ rise to power and subsequent reign, but with fighter treatment one of the hottest topics in a muddied UFC climate, it’s impossible not to wonder if the cost-conscious new UFC ownership should bite the bullet and simply make a big fight with a big star rather than wait for Bisping vs. St-Pierre – a fight that is quickly losing any and all luster as it saps any and all adherence to the rankings in one of MMA’s most talented current landscapes.