Not many of us could make sense of how Mauricio Rua wound up paired against Brandon Vera for the main event of UFC on FOX 4, especially when considering that a fighter of equal to greater relevance in Glover Teixeira had been favored as a replacement against Rua in Thiago Silva’s absence. “The Truth” has not fought since eeking out a decision victory over the now retired Elliot Marshall in October of 2011, and hasn’t looked like his aggressive, take no prisoners self since UFC 65. Teixeira, on the other hand, is on a 16 fight win streak, and although he is of lesser name value, would surely make for a better fight against Rua in our opinion.
Dana White initially reported that when offered the fight, Shogun’s camp wanted “nothing to do with” Teixeira, a claim that was almost instantly rebuked by Shogun’s camp. Oddly enough, after his camp rebuked such a claim, they immediately accepted a match against Vera, leading one to believe that maybe DW wasn’t bullshitting us as he’s been accused of doing before.
Well during the UFC on FX 3 post fight press conference, White divulged into the “he said/she said” speculation a little further, stating that Shogun was so against fighting Teixeira that he was willing to be cut before taking a fight with him.
(The question comes around the 2:50 mark.)
Here’s what The UFC Prez had to say when questioned on the issue:
Because he absolutely refused to fight him. He would rather be cut than fight him. You know what, it was one of those very wierd situations to hear one of the top five guys in the world say I’d rather be cut than fight a guy who isn’t ranked. And the reason that they were saying was because oh he’s not top ten. But then when we offer him Brandon Vera he took it in two seconds. Vera isn’t top ten either.
Someone asked me this question earlier, but the reality is that Shogun is a guy whom I respect, he been in a million wars with all the best in the world, but for some reason he does not wanna fight this dude Glover. And you know me, if you don’t want me to tell the truth, don’t say that stuff to me on the phone. That’s exactly what happened, that’s exactly the way it went down.
And me and Lorenzo said ‘Listen dude, you can’t be turning down fights at this level. With the money you’re making and where you are ranked in the world, you don’t turn down fights at this level. We might have to cut you’ and he said ‘I’d rather be cut than fight him.’
Where one can make the argument that a fight with Teixeira does little to nothing for Shogun’s status in the UFC, the same goes twice over for Vera. Say what you want about “The Truth’s” accolades and list of past opponents, but Vera is nowhere near ready for a fight with Shogun at this point in his career. As for Mauricio, it’s like DW said — he isn’t in the position to be turning down any fights in the UFC. Yes he’s a legend, but the fact is, he gets paid to fight whoever the UFC deems fit for him to fight. Plus, he’s gone win-loss in his past six fights, with only one of those victories coming over a fighter who was truly in his prime (Machida).
If he doesn’t like the fights he’s being offered, he should retire or asked to be released from his contract; it’s as simple as that. The fact that the UFC has basically catered to his demands by giving him a fight with Vera, who is even further down the rankings than Teixeira at this point, is both nonsensical and counter-intuitive to the point they are trying to make. But it’s not like they’re going to release a commodity as hot as Shogun on a whim, so perhaps it was just an empty threat more than anything.
The only reason anyone would even tune into Shogun/Vera is for the chance to see a vintage Shogun performance, and as we mentioned earlier, placing it as the headliner of a UFC on FOX card surely wont help the promotion’s ever-dwindling ratings on the network. Personally, Shogun’s ducking of this fight kind of leaves the impression that he doesn’t exactly have the title picture in mind, or would rather just take the easiest path to that shot as possible.
But what do you think of this, Potato Nation? Should Shogun be punished for such a move rather than rewarded, or has he somehow earned the right to tell his bosses how what to do?