Morning Report: With Anderson Silva pledging to sit out a year, Michael Bisping calls for Belfort interim title bout

Jon Kopaloff

At this point, it's safe to say only Anderson Silva actually knows what Anderson Silva wants.

No one expected him to step up on short-notice to try and save two different UFC events, but yet that's exactly what he did. Meanwhile everyone expected him to challenge a victorious Georges St-Pierre at UFC 154 -- Dana White even went out of his way to let us all know it was going to happen -- and now, apparently, we all look silly for believing that.

"I'm on vacation from fighting," Silva casually revealed to SporTV (translation via The UG). "I think I will return only in the end of the next year. I have personal projects ongoing. Tomorrow I'm embarking to Los Angeles to attend the arrangements of the academy we're setting up there.

"If the UFC wants to make an interim bout while I'm gone, it's up to them. I don't know if it will have any meaning but they can do whatever they want. I'm in a comfort zone, so I'm not worried about it."

Of course, it wasn't long before perennial close-but-not-quite contender Michael Bisping caught wind of what was going on.

"[Dana White], if Anderson wants to take time off to be a movie star, make me and Vitor for the interim title?" Bisping quickly proposed on Twitter.

At the time of this writing, White had yet to respond. But if Silva hopes to take a year off and return in late-2013 with a superfight against St-Pierre, essentially holding his own division hostage for over a year, I'm sure White will have something to say on the subject.

(Quick aside: I'm going to be out for most of the next two weeks, so I'll be passing the Morning Report reins back into the capable hands of Luke Thomas. Don't worry, he'll take care of you guys. And if not, just badger him on Twitter until he does. Now let's get back to it.)

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

Silva says he's out until late-2013. UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva told Brazilian outlet Tatame he has no plans to challenge Georges St-Pierre at UFC 154. Silva also said he expects to sit on the sidelines until late-2013 due to various side projects.

Bisping calls for interim title. With Anderson Silva pledging to sit out for a year, middleweight contender Michael Bisping asked Dana White to make his January bout against Vitor Belfort for an interim UFC title.

The MMA hour. On the 19th anniversary of UFC 1, Ariel Helwani and The MMA Hour return with a throwback show dedicated to the inaugural event, featuring a lineup of UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie, promoter Art Davie, executive producer Campbell McLaren, broadcaster Kathy Long, Rener and Ryron Gracie, and MMAFighting.com's own Dave Meltzer.

UFC pioneers reflective. In celebration of the historic day, UFC 1 tournament champion Royce Gracie reflected back on his legendary run, while UFC 1 commentator Kathy Long reminisced about what it was like to watch it all unfold cageside. Likewise, one of the UFC's original founders, Art Davie, put it simply: "This was the day 19 years ago that we changed the world."

Hughes: GSP would beat Silva. Speaking to BJPenn.com, UFC legend Matt Hughes said he firmly believes Georges St-Pierre will defeat Anderson Silva if the two champions meet in superfight, and St-Pierre would be better off contesting the bout at 185 pounds so he could snatch away Silva's middleweight title.

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MEDIA STEW

When NickTheFace made this last year, he probably didn't expect it to still be relevant 14 months later. But hey, that's what non-stop injuries will do to you.

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Chael Sonnen gets a burger named after him, so why not go ahead and give Cung Le a wrap? And yes, it looks ridiculous.

(HT: MiddleEasy)

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I don't know what else to say except that this is simultaneously appalling and frightening. Especially considering the finish.

(HT: CagePotato)

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Wu-Tang Clan ain't nuthing ta...

(HT: Reddit)

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Life lesson #362: Wisely pick and choose the mascots you drunken mess with.

(HT: Bloody Elbow)

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WORTH A SHOT, MIKE

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ALSO, DJ BISPING DOIN' WORK

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SOMEHOW THIS MAKES SENSE

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STAY STRONG

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WARNING: THIS TOE INJURY IS INCREDIBLY GRUESOME

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LAST CHANCE

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Monday, November 12, 2012):

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day sees jerry.tsui ask: Is Rich Franklin a UFC Hall of Famer?

With Rich Franklin's getting KO'd at UFC in Macau this past weekend, we are likely closer to seeing the end of an amazing run from an athlete who didn't even start on his high school football to becoming a UFC World Champion. There is no doubt he was a major star in the UFC that headlined many events, but is he a Hall of Famer? I recall some in the MMA media and the UFC refer to him as a Hall of Famer, but does he really qualify? Unlike other Hall of Fames in Baseball, Football, and Basketball where you can compare long established benchmarks for getting in, the UFC is still in its infancy and there is still some debate as to what qualifies a fighter to be in the Hall of Fame.

I am not taking a position or arguing why he should or should not get be in the UFC Hall of Fame. I just want to set the table for a debate and weigh the pros and cons of whether or not he should get inducted. This is just one of many debates that will come up in the next decade as we weigh the merits of such fighters like Vitor Belfort, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, and Frank Mir as their careers wind down and their credentials and legacies are considered as well.

I would like to start by listing the reasons why Rich Franklin is a UFC Hall of Famer.

- Held the UFC Middleweight Belt and defended it twice against Nate Quarry and David Loiseau.
14-6 record, a 70% win percentage in a career where he fought primarily top tier fighters.

- Main Evented 13 UFC cards whereas Chuck Liddell main evented 12 cards and Matt Hughes main evented 9 events.

- Major wins over former champions Chuck Liddell, Ken Shamrock, Evan Tanner twice, and Wanderlei Silva twice. Shamrock and Liddell is already in the Hall of Fame and if there is a MMA or Pride Hall of Fame, Wanderlei would be a unanimous first ballot inductee.

- Solid wins over contenders like Yushin Okami, Travis Lutter, and Matt Hamill.

- A two-time coach on The Ultimate Fighter, coaching on Season 2 and replacing Tito Ortiz during Season 11.

- A company guy that always stepped up for the company and putting the company's needs ahead of his own at times. Fighting Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147 and taking a number of fights at 195 that did not improve his chances of getting a title shot.

- A great ambassador for the sport that Dana White could comfortably use to debate Bill O'Reilly or other media pundits since Franklin was a math teacher with a Master's Degree and very clean cut and articulate.

- Rich Franklin was very popular and well respected among fans, his peers, the media, and his bosses.

Here are the arguments against Rich Franklin being a UFC Hall of Famer

- Franklin held the Middleweight belt during a time when the talent pool in the division was pretty shallow, thus Nate Quarry and David Loiseau each received title shots after going 3-0.

- Franklin was demolished in both of his matches against Anderson Silva showing just how far of a gap there is between Franklin and Anderson Silva.

- In fights that could have help to have cemented his legacy, Franklin came up short against top-tier fighters Forrest Griffin, Dan Henderson, and Vitor Belfort.

- When Franklin beat Shamrock and Liddell, both were already on the tail end of their careers.

- Franklin beat a troubled Evan Tanner, but never really beat a top tier fighter in their prime.

- Since beating David Loiseau, Franklin has only been 7-6 in the Octagon.

So there are the pros and cons to whether or not Rich Franklin is a future UFC Hall of Famer. Regardless of whether he is one day inducted, his contributions to the sport will never be forgotten. So what do you guys think? Will he be in or out?

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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