UFC president Dana White has made a rather pointed response to the recent retirement threats made by the former middleweight champion, Anderson Silva.
Last month saw the UFC’s flyweight kingpin Demetrious Johnson finally break into that upper-tier of legendary UFC champions as he stretched out his reign as the 125lb strap-holder to ten consecutive title-defenses.
For many, this only confirmed what we had already known for some time but in reality, getting that tenth win put Demetrious firmly into that ‘greatest champion of all-time’ discussion and has caused a seemingly endless stream of debates on the subject ever since.
The man who many believe to be the single most dominant champion of all, Anderson Silva, is now the joint-holder of the UFC’s consecutive title defenses record and in the eyes of the MMA community as a whole, is more-than-deserving of his modern-day ‘legend’ status, with some even going as far as to single him out as the greatest to ever do it, period.
Silva’s tenure atop the 185lb division was truly magical stuff at times. Whether he was front-kicking Vitor Belfort in the face, submitting Chael Sonnen when all seemed to be lost or making the always-game Forrest Griffin look like he was competing in the wrong sport, there was never a dull moment while the ‘Spider’ was the one sitting on the throne.
Now, with Anderson in his 42nd year, his title-aspirations seem to have died down along with his advancing age, with him making his wish to test himself and enjoy every second of it known in recent times.
However, as a consequence of the rather murky middleweight title-picture at the moment, Silva spoke to Ariel Helwani on a recent appearance on the MMA Hour where he vented his frustration at his treatment by the UFC, showing uncharacteristic anger throughout the course of the rather heated exchange.
Silva laid out a simple ultimatum for the UFC brass where he claimed that if he didn’t receive an interim-title showdown with the seemingly-forgotten number-1 contender Yoel Romero at UFC 212, he would immediately announce his retirement from the sport.
Anderson was originally meant to face off against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 212 in his home-country of Brazil but after the young-contender tested positive for marijuana, he was quickly pulled from the event, leaving the Spider opponentless.
Now, in a recent interview with TMZ, Dana White has issued a rather blunt response to the former-champ’s ultimatum, with him choosing to reject the Brazilian’s interim-title hopes, while hammering home a pretty harsh truth for the rest of us.
“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.”
“We will not do an interim title. No, it won’t happen. 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.”
Anderson has now gone (1-4, 1) in his last six fights but at this stage of his career could do little to tarnish the legacy he spend years carving out for himself as champ. If he does, in fact, retire, however, it will perhaps not be the way that many would have liked to see him bow out, but his truly electric run between the years 2006 and 2012 will live long in the memories of those of us who love the sport.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena