The plan to have the biggest fight in MMA history take place inside a Brazilian soccer stadium is no more. During a special press conference from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Tuesday morning, UFC President Dana White confirmed Anderson Silva will still defend his middleweight title against Chael Sonnen as expected but the bout will come on July 7 from Las Vegas at UFC 148.
The organization’s original plan was to have the two meet at UFC 147 on June 23 in Rio with 80,000 Brazilian fans packing an open-air arena. Issues, and White said there were plenty of them, caused the fight to be scrapped including a United Nations’ conference straining the city’s accommodations.
“This is a huge global event,” White said. “Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Las Vegas was the only other option.”
White added it took some talking to get “The Spider” to agree to face Sonnen away from his native country but ultimately he agreed to do so. Silva already owns a submission victory over the #1 contender but was down on all the scorecards prior to locking in the fifth-round finish.
UFC 147 is still expected to take place with UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo now a possibility for the main event. The card, does not have a location yet though it does have a few other fights including Wanderlei Silva-Vitor Belfort, Fabricio Werdum-Mike Russow, and the finals of TUF Brasil.
Watch the full press conference below:
MMATraining Take: This really makes UFC 148 a stacked-card if it remains true, as Silva-Sonnen will be joined by UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz taking on Urijah Faber, as well as bouts like Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le, Michael Bisping vs. Tim Boetsch, and Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin. However, missing out on a soccer-like atmosphere for Silva-Sonnen is sure to disappoint some fans and likely the UFC brass as well.