With the Wednesday report from the Brazilian outlet Combate that Wanderlei Silva was out of his UFC 175 grudge fight with Chael Sonnen -- and would therefore be replaced by Vitor Belfort -- people began to wonder exactly what happened.
Well, Wednesday night Sonnen gave his version of events to Kenny Florian during a taping of UFC Tonight. And though it wasn't exactly objective coming from one of the principals involved in the UFC 175 contest, it at least lent an air of clarity as to the reasons for Silva falling off the card.
"Wanderlei has operated his entire career under the shadow of suspicion that he was using performance enhancing drugs. However he has never failed a drug test, so we don't speculate on those types of things," Sonnen said, right at the top of the show. "That clean record came to a screeching halt on Saturday night. Not only did he fail his test, he refused to take the test, and as you know a refusal is equal in the eyes of the commission to a failure. He ran from the test, Kenny, and I don't mean that figuratively, I mean they came to his gym and he literally ran. He goes out of a side door, they go after him saying his name.
"I have not spoke to the athletic commission in Nevada, so here I am going to speculate that they will revoke his license, and perhaps his career in the UFC will be done."
Silva coached opposite Sonnen on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil. The two were involved in an altercation during the taping of the show, which ended up postponing the fight due to a an injury suffered by Silva during the melee. They were supposed to fight at UFC 173, originally. For the last couple of years the two have been jawing at each other, and promising to settle things in the cage. Sonnen has long maintained that Silva would not show up.
As for how the change from Silva to Belfort shifts things, according to Sonnen his light heavyweight bout with Belfort now becomes a No. 1 contender's bout at middleweight, where both men have come and gone as No. 1 contenders. It's all very confusing, but Sonnen did his best to clear it up.
"Now as for myself, I still will participate in the pay-per-view on July 5, but the stakes are up," he said. "I am now fighting in a No. 1 contender's match, the winner of my bout will take on the winner of Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida, my opponent will be Vitor Belfort.
"Vitor and I are both middleweights, 185-pound division, and that is the contendership that's on the line. Vitor's the No. 1 contender, he's putting that title on the line against me. Consider it a catchweight that we will be taking place at 205 pounds."
Belfort was originally slated to face Weidman next for the middleweight belt, which was supposed to take place at UFC 173 this past weekend. However, with the Nevada Athletic Commission abruptly banning testosterone replacement therapy in February, Belfort -- who became a TRT posterboy for in 2013 -- was forced to withdraw from the bout to adapt his body. He was replaced by Machida. The fight was moved to UFC 175 when Chris Weidman opted to have surgery on his knee.
Now, in a strange turn of events, Belfort faces Sonnen on the same card that Weidman defends his belt against Machida. It may seem like a strange way to arrive at a bout, but for Sonnen, it was only a matter of time before him and Belfort squared off.
"Here's the bottom line, Vitor and I's paths were going to cross at some point," Sonnen said from his platform. "We all have a fate. And now Vitor and I have a date. And this is what's going to go down, and we're going to go out there and we're going to compete. And I have been after him for awhile, and he's after me, too. I don't think either one of us has any problem with the opponent. Timing in life is everything, and the time is now."