Morning Report: Anderson Silva Answers Call For UFC 153, Nike Sponsorship Elevated to Global Deal

Ethan Miller, Getty Images

So, who saw that coming? Calling the UFC 153 cupboard bare yesterday morning would've been the understatement of the century. But today? There may be a million words to describe it, but bare isn't one of them. Suddenly it's flush with one first-class filet mignon and a bunch of mish-mashed items that don't really seem to fit. Which, I guess, is better than a lot of alternatives.

Yes, this is real. It isn't a weird dream. Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar is somehow the main event of a UFC pay-per-view. But hey, in light of this ridiculous string of bad luck, lets try to look at the bright side here. It's still Anderson Silva. We all thought he was done for 2012, so getting a bonus chance to see one of the greatest fighters to ever live is never a bad outcome.

I have the utmost respect for Stephan Bonnar -- who doesn't? -- but whether you admit it or not, all of us either cackled with glee or marveled at the absurdity we were witnessing during Silva's last two forays into light heavyweight. So it could be worse off than getting part three, especially given the hand the UFC was dealt.

But injury casualties aside, there are two guys it's tough not to feel bad for right now. First is Glover Teixeira. The man may just be one-fight deep into his UFC career, but he was on the precipice of a blistering fast-track. Rampage Jackson may not possess the skills has once did, but his brand is still a thousand times stronger than most light heavyweights. Beating Jackson likely would've rocketed Teixeira into a top-five match-up, just like it did for Ryan Bader. Not to take anything away from Fabio Maldonado, but he's 1-2 in the UFC -- however questionable those decisions may have been -- and his name doesn't come close to approaching Jackson's drawing power.

Beside that, how does Chris Weidman have to feel right now? He held out for so long in the hopes of catching Silva's attention. Now this happens, less a week after he finally gave up on Silva's pledge to sit out the rest of the year. If that isn't a tough break, I don't know what is.

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6 MUST-READ STORIES

Silva steps up for UFC 153, Nike deal goes global. In a surprising turn of events, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva will challenge Stephan Bonnar at 205 pounds in the new main event of UFC 153. Meanwhile Silva's manager, Ed Soares, revealed that his client's deal with Nike expanded from a Brazilian regional deal to global deal, similar to the landmark sponsorship Jon Jones inked last month.

Edgar out of UFC 153; manager nixes Sonnen-Wand. With Jose Aldo sidelined due to injury, former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar was removed from the main event of UFC 153. Likewise, a rumored replacement bout between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva was refuted by Sonnen's manager, Mike Roberts.

Big Nog returns, Teixeira gets Maldonado. In further UFC 153 developments, legendary heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira agreed to meet Dave Herman to help rebuild the card. Nogueira has been out of action since Frank Mir broke his arm in December of 2011. Also, co-headliner Glover Teixeira will now face light heavyweight slugger Fabio Maldonado.

Jones' dream to hold UFC event in Cowboys Stadium. Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones told local radio outlet KRLD-FM 105.3 that it was a "dream" of his to stage a massive UFC event inside 110,000-seat Cowboys Stadium. Dana White recently said a potential Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre superfight could take place inside the Arlington stadium.

TUF: India to debut in 2013. The third international version of The Ultimate Fighter, TUF: India, will debut in 2013, the UFC announced at a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday. Additionally, the UFC inked a broadcast deal to air live events and specialty programming on India's SONY SIX network.

Leben scheduled for comeback. With his year-long suspension nearing its conclusion, Chris "The Crippler" Leben is scheduled to fight Karlos Vemola at UFC 155. Leben has been sidelined since testing positive for prescription painkillers oxycodone and oxymorphone in November of 2011.

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MEDIA STEW

Some of you out there probably need some laughs right about now, and the Tommy Toe Hold Show is more than willing to help out.

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Ever see the clip that trims down The Big Lebowski into two minutes of F-bomb glory? Well, this is just like that, except Dana White is The Dude. (NSFW for obvious reasons.)

(HT: Reddit)

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In the wake of another Sept. 11 anniversary, The Fight Nerd put together this heartfelt tribute featuring New York MMA fighters discussing where they were on that fateful day and the impact the attacks had on their lives.

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We've got two fighter diaries coming up, one for each UFC 152 flyweight finalist. First up: Mighty Mouse. The big takeaway: He loves to wash dishes. Who knew?

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A pair of takeaways from Benavidez: 1.) He leaves his nipple rings in for grappling sessions, 2.) He's pretty sure he hits harder than Michael Bisping. Got to love the flyweights.

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Expect to see at least 20 fight montages using KELLFAC3's new PRIDE dubstep remix in the near future.

(HT: Reddit)

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ANDERSON IS FIGHTING WHO?

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THIS GUY PROBABLY HAS SOMETHING TO SAY

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Wednesday, September 12, 2012):

- UFC 153: Frankie Edgar (14-3-1) out of main event

- UFC 153: Anderson Silva (32-4) vs. Stephan Bonnar (14-7) booked for main event

- UFC 153: Fabio Maldonado (18-5) in against Glover Teixeira (18-2)

- UFC 153: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (33-7-1, 1 NC) vs. Dave Herman (21-4)

- UFC 155: Chris Leben (22-8) vs. Karlos Vemola (9-3)

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day is by Chris Groves, who pours on the optimism with: UFC 153: "Boy...That Escalated Quickly."

Some people are complaining about the Silva vs Bonnar fight. But the UFC did what Brock Lesnar would do: Make chicken salad out of chicken sh--. Here is what I think of the new main event matchup.

Anderson Silva vs Stephan Bonnar - This isn't Anderson making a legitimate run at 205. This is a showcase fight. Anderson Silva is the Pound-For-Pound greatest fighter on the planet. He is the longest reigning UFC champion of all time and hands down the absolute greatest Middleweight fighter of all time. He has moved up to take fights at 205 twice. Once against a gatekeeper in James Irvin, and once against Forrest Griffin, who had just lost his Light Heavyweight title. There are a few reasons that Stephan Bonnar is a perfectly acceptable 3rd fight in the division.

Believe it or not, Bonnar IS on a 3 fight winning streak, he's not at the bottom of the barrel. One way or another was right on the cusp of(or in the middle of) making "one last run", he proved in his last 3 fights that he is still capable of getting wins over decent competition. You know what else he has proved throughout his entire career? He is tough as nails. The guy can take an ungodly amount of punishment. He has an insane chin and never stops going for a win. He'll give it his all against Anderson Silva and it'll be entertaining for every minute that it lasts. He has the opportunity to face(and a one in a million chance of defeating) one of the greatest fighters of all time.

As for Anderson Silva? He is the pound for pound best. This fight gives him a few things. A chance to extend his amazing winning streak, a chance to further earn the title of being the 'pound for pound best' by winning a 3rd fight in the next weight class up from where he naturally fights at, and a chance to get a victory over an insanely tough opponent who has strung together a few wins and has a bit of momentum.

We get to see a man who, in my opinion, is the greatest fighter of all time jump up in weight for a THIRD time and take on a grizzled, currently surging veteran who doesn't know the meaning of the word quit. When the two biggest fights on a card get decimated one month out, what more could you ask for?

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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