Wanderlei Silva

From The Mailbag: 2/1/07

Well I guess this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce you to our newest feature - From The Mailbag. Basically if you send in a question, we will try our best to answer it and post it on the site under this heading. Simple as that…

C Rizzle writes:

If Rampage gets through Eastman and I figure he will, do you see Dana matching him up with Liddell right away? (I see him getting 2 fights before a title bout) If not and you are going to give him another bout before the title fight, I could very well see Dana matching him up with Evans, and in light of Evans comments saying he would “knock Jackson out”, I think this could have some merit to it. Or do you see him fighting a Sobral, Jardine, etc. What are your thoughts?

Basically I think it’s all going to come down to what Dana White decides to do. The Light-Heavyweight division is absolutely stacked, we already know that. The problem is that there is no legitimate number one contender to Chuck Liddell’s belt.

Could Quinton Jackson get an immediate title shot if he beats Marvin Eastman? It’s very possible and only because there isn’t any other fighter that is a step ahead of the rest right now and would be a just challenger.

If Rashad Evans and Keith Jardine are forced to fight or else they are terminated from their UFC contracts, I think the two will fight. If not, another scenario Dana may be visualize is Tito Ortiz vs Keith Jardine and Quinton Jackson vs Rashad Evans. Another thing that may prevent this is the fact that Forrest and Tito are heavily rumored to be fighting at UFC 70.

Michael Bisping is still going to have two or three more fights before he is seriously considered just like the rest of The Ultimate Fighter alumni. Renato Sobral and Jason Lambert are scheduled to fight at UFC 68 so that takes them out of the picture for now…

But where does this leave Liddell? Is he going to have to go through another UFC 57-UFC 62 stretch where he doesn’t fight? Will Dana try to grab Wanderlei Silva again? There’s so many possible scenarios that could happen, it’s too early to really to gage what’s going to happen until some of these fights go down and future matchups are finalized.

Anyway there are my thoughts on the situation. Hope I answered your question well enough…

Pride Officially Announces Silva-Henderson; Sakakibara Denies Purchase Rumors

Pride officially announced that Wanderlei Silva will defend his Pride Middleweight Title against Pride Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson at Pride 33: The Second Coming on February 24th at a press conference in Los Angeles yesterday.

The biggest surprise of the day: Tommy Lee was on hand to voice his support for the event.

Not the biggest surprise of the day: Lee screwed up the date of the event, saying that it was in January instead of February, confusing Motley Crue fans everywhere.

Pride CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara was very confident that his company would succeed in the UFC-dominated American market…

“2007 is the year of change and challenge for PRIDE,” Sakakibara told Sherdog.com. “We take the American market very seriously and also we have champions like Fedor and Wanderlei, strong fighters — they’re waiting for anyone to challenge them. We’re here to stay in America and those champions are here to stay in PRIDE.”

While he couldn’t say anything more about the matchups for Pride 33, Sakakibara did state that Takanori Gomi will be fighting on the card.

Sakakibara also quelled the rampant rumors that are circulating through some of MMA’s most popular message boards that Zuffa, the company that owns the UFC and WEC, has come to terms to purchase Pride:

“It’s just a rumor. I haven’t had any close conversation with (UFC president) Dana White so far. But since the Fertitta brothers bought the UFC we’ve had a very close relationship and we have had friendly conversation. We’re just trying to come up with the idea on how we can make this sport grow. That’s our main concern. I think that is where the rumors are coming from. We’re constantly having a conversation with the UFC.”

While an MMA monopoly might not be the best thing for the sport, it’s always good to know that the two superpowers are working together to try and better the sport and also constantly talking to each other.

If there ever comes a time when Pride has to be sold, I’d rather Zuffa acquire it than WWE or Showtime…

Silva-Henderson to Headline PRIDE 33

Loretta Hunt of ‘The Fight Network’ is reporting that PRIDE 33 will be headlined by a rematch between PRIDE champions Wanderlei Silva and Dan Henderson.

Henderson and Silva battled back in December of 2000 where fans saw “The Axe Murder” Wanderlei Silva win by decision.

In 2000, Henderson didn’t draw a favorable straw in Silva for his PRIDE debut, but the wrestler with little formal stand-up training made the most of it, pulverizing the Brazilian’s face to a mangled mesh of purple and red on route to a decision loss with the then unstoppable fighter.

This fight will give Henderson the opportunity to hold a title in two different weight classes.

“As impossible as it seems, I will make him even uglier than he is already,” Henderson promised from his home in Southern California today.

What If Shamrock Wins?

What happens if Ken Shamrock actually beats Tito Ortiz tonight? The Light-Heavyweight division of the UFC goes into disarray, that’s what…

Just think about it for a minute. Ortiz and Chuck Liddell are slated to fight for the UFC Light-Heavyweight title in December - Tito has already shown the public the contract itself. If Shamrock beats Ortiz, there’s no reason for that fight to even take place. If it still went as scheduled, there would be a huge uproar, the likes of which we have never seen before.

I don’t think that Shamrock would automatically get a title shot, but then again who would take on Chuck in December. I would hate to see Liddell have to wait like Georges St. Pierre has had to.

A very possible scenario could be this - Rashad Evans will take on Renato Sobral at some point later this year. Forrest Griffin and Shamrock would quickly follow suit. That would leave Tito matching up with either Stephan Bonnar (if he is permitted to fight which I highly doubt) or Keith Jardine.

Actually any combination of that could become a reality…

What about Chuck? Well this would become the perfect opportunity to re-ignite talks about possible taking on one of Pride’s top light-heavys, Wanderlei Silva or someone else…

Matt Hill of MMA Weekly has written a very good piece about Ken’s possible chances as well…

What if Ortiz doesn’t beat Shamrock?

Tuesday, October 10, will be the trilogy that finally ends one of the longest running feuds in MMA today. If Ortiz wins, he proves that he is without a doubt the superior fighter. If Shamrock wins, he throws a wrench in the entire UFC light-heavyweight division. It seems like almost everyone is counting Shamrock out…except Shamrock.

“I’m supposed to get beat, so if I get beat I get beat; but what happens if I don’t get beat? They’re going to have to eat some crow,” said Shamrock.

Some Dana White Notes

So Dana had some interesting things to say once again at the UFC 63 Post-Fight Press Conference on Saturday night/Sunday morning…

What did he have to talk about? I guess I’ll give it you interview style…

What are your thought’s on Pride coming to the US market?

“I think it’s great for the sport… There are going to be a lot of guys up-and-coming. There are a lot of opportunities for these guys to make money, so I can’t have everybody. I can’t pay everybody… I think it’s necessary.”

Any thoughts on Wanderlei Silva’s loss to Mirko Cro Cop?

“I think he just got executed. Isn’t that what happened to him?”

Will we see Silva in the UFC in the near future?

“Did he wake up yet? Let’s put it this way, everybody’s terrorized me about the fight with Wanderlei Silva. I’ve been trying to make that fight for five years. If that fight happened in the United States right now, he’d be on a ninety day suspension for getting his head kicked to another planet. He’s out. There’s no way he can come fight in the United States right now. When he gets back up and wins another fight or something… trust me when I tell you, I’d love to have Wanderlei Silva under contract with the UFC. I joke around, but I’d love to have him under contract.”

Could you elaborate more on your plans for expansion as you have mentioned before?

“We’re going to get real aggressive over the next two, three years. We’re going to expand our market. We’re going down to Mexico. We’re going up to Canada. We’re going over to the U.K. in October. We’re going to do 4 or 5 fights a year over there. We’re going to see how that goes and then possibly reaching out into Europe.”

“We’re going to aggressively go after the Hispanic market over the next couple of years. Right now down in Mexico, they get the Ultimate Fighter on DirecTV. Every time I go down to Mexico, people know about the sport and the show and we’re looking for a television deal.”

Pride Talks The Real Deal, Liddell-Silva

Pride held yet another press conference yesterday discussing details about their upcoming US debut in October…

We already learned about the announcements of Josh Barnett-Pawel Nastula and Mark Hunt-Eric Esch yesterday. Dream Stage CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara stated that some more fights will be named later this week and the rest of the card will be revealed at the end of the month.

It’s interesting to note that because the event is taking place in Nevada, the rules will be similar to those that the UFC uses with a couple of changes. The fight will obviously take place in a ring rather than the UFC’s famed octagon. As it pertains to striking, there will be no elbows to the head permitted while on the ground. Kicking or kneeing of a downed opponent will be illegal as well despite that it is usually allowed in Pride events.

No shoes or Gi’s are allowed to be worn. The fights will be three five-minutes rounds instead of Pride’s usual one ten minute round followed by two five-minute rounds. The event will be four hours long and will be broadcast on PPV and the web.

Even more interesting then those announcements is the fact that Sakakibara was willing to talk about Silva-Liddell and the current status of the possible matchup. ..

“Speaking on behalf of Pride, we are ready anytime. Also, Wanderlei is ready. We just need the doctor’s confirmation regarding his injury from last week. We are still waiting for the UFC’s response. Mirko even said that if Wanderlei is not ready to fight in November, he would fight in his place. In some interviews, Mr. Dana White stated that this fight won’t happen. However, speaking from Pride’s side, we are ready.”

Hey, that’s not what Dana said!

I really don’t know which side to believe. I want to side with Dana and the UFC seeing how Pride has screwed over other promotions before by pulling crap like this whole saga. I wonder what he will have to say about this.

Even though Dana already said that Silva shouldn’t get a shot at Chuck Liddell because he was destroyed by Mirko Cro Cop, there is still room for things to happen. Dana’s right - Silva shouldn’t get Chuck after that massacre.

But if what Dana said at UFC 61 is true - They were supposed to have Wanderlei for three fights - Why don’t they have Wanderlei face someone else, like Babalu or Forrest for example. This way Tito can get his title shot and providing Chuck and Wanderlei both win, they can meet after that.

I’m such a genius…

Liddell-Silva = No Go

Chuck Liddell versus Wanderlei Silva may one day happen but it won’t be in November. UFC president Dana White recently spoke about the fight and Silva’s loss in the Pride Open Weight Grand Prix.

“It kind of defeats the purpose now. The guy just got, literally, destroyed. They’re (PRIDE) still saying we can do a fight in November. They can’t do a fight in November. The athletic commission would put them on suspension for 90 days. The guy got knocked out cold. First, he got beaten to death, then he got knocked out cold. There’s no way the guy could fight again in a month and a half. Plus, he just lost.”

Chuck Liddell’s Future

Chuck Liddell was recently on MMA Weekly Radio discussing his plans for the near future...

Liddell stated that his next opponent will most likely be Tito Ortiz for the Light-Heavyweight title in December provided that Ortiz gets by Ken Shamrock on October 10th as expected.

Although a major push was made to get the fight with Wanderlei Silva worked out, things fell apart. Chuck noted that the announcement made at UFC 60 was a ploy by Pride to use the venue to promote themselves. He also said that the deal fell through because of Pride and had nothing to do with Wanderlei.

As always, Liddell expressed interest in rematching Quinton Jackson and avenging his loss to him a few years ago. Chuck said that Rampage signed with the WFA to avoid him. When interestingly asked if he would ever move up a weight class and fight in the heavyweight division, Liddell didn’t rule out the possibility and said that he was open to fighting anyone.

He was questioned about retirement and when it would take place - Liddell said that he would be taking things one day at a time and that he doesn’t have plans to stop fighting any time soon.

Liddell-Silva Nearly Off

Wanderlei Silva has been announced as part of the Pride’s USA debut on October 21st - all signs point towards his bout against Chuck Liddell being all but cancelled. UFC President Dana White has been rumored to be making announcement regarding this and the third fight between Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock at UFC 62 this Saturday.

PRIDE Press Conference Notes

Yesterday Pride Fighting Championships held a press conference at the Fox Sports Grill in Irvine, California. The press conference featured the announcement of two fights along with the announcement of a many other fighters set to participate in the event.

The two fights that were announced were Mark Coleman versus Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua against Coleman’s teammate Kevin “The Monster” Randleman.

In an unexpected turn of events Pride officials called upon former undisputed heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson. Apparently Tyson and the Japanese promotion have come to some sort of agreement which will feature Tyson fighting in some sort of exhibition match in the future.

Finally it was announced that Pride superstars Josh Barnett, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Phil Baroni, Kazuyuki Fujita, Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva will participate on the October 21st card.

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