The blockbuster grudge match, which was originally booked for UFC 147 on June 23, has now been rescheduled to headline UFC 148 on July 7, 2012 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. UFC President Dana White announced the switch at a press conference in Rio on Tuesday morning, though according White, it took some persuasion to get Silva onboard.
"He was very upset about not fighting in Brazil," White said. "He wanted this fight with Chael Sonnen here. It took a lot of talking, and I finally convinced Anderson to take this fight in Las Vegas."
Silva put on a good face throughout the proceedings, however it was clear he wasn't happy with the decision.
"I'm a UFC athlete," Silva said. "I don't just have fans in Brazil, but worldwide. So regardless of where this fight is, I'll be representing Brazil. I'll be doing my job for my fans, and nothing will really change. The only thing is unfortunately the fight, due to the alliance the UFC has with a company which wasn't professional enough to understand the size of the UFC, unfortunately the fight will not be in Brazil."
Previously, White cited difficulties obtaining a proper venue in Brazil due to a United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development booked for the same week. The conference runs from June 20-22 and lists 194 member nations among its attendees.
At Tuesday's presser White refused to go into specifics about what ultimately forced the move, alluding only to "a lot of problems."
"There were many things that cause this fight to fall apart here," White explained.
"As we got into the logistics of making this thing happen here, just everything that could go wrong went wrong, and we weren't able to pull it off fast enough."
Despite his not-so-friendly relationship with the country of Brazil, Sonnen also expressed his frustration regarding the situation.
"It was disappointing, especially with the thought of coming to a stadium," Sonnen admitted. "In Toronto, (Jake) Shields and (Georges St. Pierre) did 55,000 seats, and I was hoping to be part of breaking that and getting it done here in Brazil. But look, Las Vegas is the fight capital of the world. This is the biggest fight in the history of combat.
"My plan wasn't to walk in here and tell you guys we're not going to fight. My plan was to come in here, take your money, my new belt, and go home back to America. But instead I'm going to have to wait, I'm going to have to stomp him on July 7, and that's exactly what I'm going to do."
Not surprisingly, Sonnen also couldn't resist taking a few jabs at his already irate rival.
"I don't have anything against the Brazilian people." Sonnen remarked. "I've got something against a Brazilian that's sitting a few feet from me. Maybe a couple other gentlemen (too), but your women are all okay we me, so feel free to give me a call or pay me a visit.
"But as far as my impression (of Brazil), it's a lot like America. When I was a little kid, I remember going outside and sitting with my friends. We'd talk about the latest technology and medicine and gaming and American ingenuity, and I'd look outside and Anderson and the Brazilian kids are sitting outside playing the mud. And I'll tell you something else, I think it's disgusting, I think it's an embarrassment to the sport and himself that he'd come around with that fake belt when the entire world watched me defeat him on live TV."
The comments seemed to tip Silva over the edge, as the normally reserved champion answered back with his own verbal assault.
"Chael Sonnen doesn't practice the martial arts," Silva declared. "He's a wrestler, so he doesn't know what martial arts is. Respect. Respect for a country. Respect to a people. And respect towards human beings. Many times, people even ask me, 'well, isn't he promoting the fight?' Yes, okay, but there are many different ways for you to do that. He did not respect our country. He disrespected my family. And above all, he disrespected all the UFC audience."
Of course, Sonnen interrupted Silva by loudly snoring midway through his response.
With Silva-Sonnen II now shifted off the card, UFC 147 is left to feature a middleweight match-up between The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil coaches Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva, the TUF: Brazil featherweight and middleweight finals, and a heavyweight bout between Fabricio Werdum and Mike Russow.
"We talked about moving Jose down to this card here," White revealed. "It's probably going to happen. We're working with his camp right now. And then, Dan Henderson vs. (Jon) Jones could be a possibility (for UFC 149)."
Meanwhile, a venue for UFC 147 has yet to finalized. UFC officials originally targeted the Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, a colossal soccer stadium that could potentially seat upwards of 50,000 Brazilian fight fans, however that is no longer an option.
"We're still in talks and we're trying to figure out exactly where we're going to take this event," White concluded. "It's going to happen obviously, the details are just not worked out and we don't have a venue yet."