Belfort says Wanderlei ducked him in the past, wants winner of Anderson/Sonnen II
June 21st 2012
Wanderlei Silva strongly criticized his rival Vitor Belfort when he got a hand injury was taken off the UFC 147 card. Silva accused Belfort of being unprofessional and of not taking sufficient care of his hands in practice.
Belfort initially maintained a dignified, diplomatic silence - albeit one broken on his behalf by his wife Joanna Prado. This week, Belfort broke his silence to fire back at Silva.
“He said my injury was irresponsible, among other absurdities, but right after me other ten fighters got injured,” he says. “Unfortunately he sees the sport a different way. Where I see a fight, he sees a brawl. I will always have physical and moral respect for my adversary, even with he does not get it with me”.
Wanderlei has claimed that Vitor “chickened out” by getting injured in training; he also said it was an insult to the fans who had bought tickets and who had waited so long to see this rematch of their 1998 meeting, which ended in a quick TKO win for Belfort.
“When I take him on, I will beat him all the way,” Belfort responds. “When a person is frustrated and losing, things like these [outbirsts] happen. I think in the seven latest fights of his, five were defeats.
“I will never downgrade myself to the level of having an argument with my opponent. I would like to do this fight badly. I insisted with the doctor but he spoke that I could not (fight). With certain sort of injuries, you can’t fight.”
Belfort also rubbished the idea that he had backed down from Silva in any way. In fact, he claims that Silva had previously avoided him by choosing to fight Chris Leben when he had been offered Belfort initially.
“I have never spoken about it before but once I signed a contract to fight Wanderlei and he didn’t want to. He would rather sign to fight that guy… who knocked him out in Las Vegas in only twenty-seven seconds.”
Finally, Belfort also addressed the question of whether he should be given a fight with the loser of Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen II, which takes place July 7.
“They want to give me the loser? Why not the winner for the everything I have already done for the sport? My adversary today is my injury, the recovery is very hard. I am a UFC athlete and the decision on the opponent is up to Dana White - but I should get the winner of this fight.”