For the past few days there’s been strong rumors that the UFC had targeted Anderson Silva as the man to lead their first ever ‘UFC On Fox’ event in November, but despite Lorenzo Fertitta appearing to indicate it was a possibilty earlier in the week, Dana White today landed in Rio and immediately ruled him out.
“It’s not true. I saw that rumor too yesterday when I was cruising around on the internet. It’s not true,” White told Ariel Helwani after the UFC 134 pre-fight press conference.
Not even if he wins quickly?
“If he goes out and wins in 13 seconds he’s not considered for the FOX show, no.”
So who is going to headline the show?
“I’m working on it right now,” White chuckles, though he’s not willing to divulge who it is he has in mind.
He did however leave one slightly cryptic clue.
“Even though I say [Silva] won’t fight on the FOX card, I’m watching what happens this weekend.”
That indicates that perhaps someone else on the card is being considered. Looking at the available options it would seem most likely that the winner of the ‘Shogun’ Rua Vs Forrest Griffin fight would be under consideration.
Either of those two fighters would make sense for Lyoto Machida who’s currently without an opponent and is perhaps back in the driving seat to headline the card now that Anderson Silva has been ruled out.
A third fight between Rua and Machida would have some mileage given that they are 1-1 against each other and could have title implications, while Griffin Vs Machida would also be entertaining stand-up battle.
White may also be leaning towards Griffin in particular since he’s already stated that he sees this FOX event as being similar in stature to the final of TUF season 1 between Griffin and Stephan Bonnar which is believed to have almost single-handedly catapulted the UFC to the next level.
Personally I’m a little surprised however that White would be so quick to rule out Silva, and part of me hopes that this is just an attempt by the UFC President to throw the media off the scent.
Having said that if it turned out that it is going to be a Machida Vs Griffin / Shogun or even Rich Franklin then I wouldn’t complain.
Watch White’s full interview with Helwani courtesy of MMAfighting.com below.