It looks like there’s been some sort of misunderstanding between Dana White and Vitor Belfort, as the latter says he’s not interested in fighting for an interim title, at all…
After UFC 183, White told the media that Belfort has turned down an opportunity to fight Lyoto Machida for the interim middleweight belt, since the champ Chris Weidman has pulled out of UFC 184. Belfort and Weidman were set to fight at the February 28th event, but the latter has incurred a rib injury.
While White’s revelation was intriguing enough, where things got particularly interesting, was his claim that Belfort approached him about fighting for an interim title. So, in other words, “The Phenom” wanted to fight for an interim belt, until he was asked to fight Machida.
Well, according to Belfort, he doesn’t want to fight anyone unless it’s for the world championship. The punishing striker released the following statement on Instragram, outlining his position.
About the cancellation of my UFC 184 fight. I would like to say that, as everyone else, I’m very disappointed with all this situation. For exactly one year, I have seen my dream to make history in UFC with my 3rd world title in a different weight category postponed. Here are some facts: – UFC had to reschedule the middleweight world title content 3 times because of my opponent’s injuries. (from May/14 to July/14- Weidman had a knee surgery, from December/14 to February/15 – Weidman had his hand broken, from February/15 to probably May/15- Weidman had his ribs hurt) – MY FOCUS WAS ALWAYS THE MIDDLEWEIGHT BELT AND I CLIMBED THE LADDER TO ACHIEVE MY POSITION. – This is why I won't fight for an interim, but if UFC gives 8 weeks and the middleweight Belt available for dispute I fight with anyone from the ranking. Not for an Interin, But the Middleweight Belt! – I’ve been in this sport for 19 years and I have never let UFC down. – I accepted to fight for the Light Heavyweight Belt right after the my sister got kidnapped and I still won the world championship. – I offered myself to fight in the UFC 152 against Jon Jones with less than 8 weeks to prepare myself to the bout and I had exactly the same injury my opponent has now and still I stepped up to the fight. I would like to thank UFC, the press and fans support, always. Focused in the Middleweight Belt! #thephenom #rumoaoterceirocinturao #andthenew #otbfight #9inewpp #tomakehistory
So, there you have it. Looks like Belfort isn’t going to score any points with the UFC boss man on this one huh? It also makes you wonder what really went down here or if it was just some kind of big miscommunication (although clearly Belfort’s camp would realize the UFC wasn’t going to strip Weidman of the title…).
Now, White said he had one other option to present Belfort, but based off what the latter said here, one would think the Brazilian star isn’t going to be fighting at UFC 184.
Weidman hasn’t defended the belt now since last July when he decisioned Machida, and Belfort hasn’t thrown down since he stopped Dan Henderson in November, 2013. If you’re keeping score, Weidman-Belfort has been delayed three times now…three times.