By Elias Cepeda
Just over two months away from when it was supposed to happen, the year’s most anticipated MMA bout does not yet have a time and place locked in stone, according to UFC President Dana White. Middleweight champion Anderson Silva and #1 contender Chael Sonnen were supposed to square off in a rematch of their 2010 thriller at UFC 147 in Rio de Janiero on June 23rd but at Saturday’s post UFC in Sweden event press conference White revealed that a conference of the United Nations scheduled in Rio the same week may force the fight promotion to move their event.
“The problem down in Rio right now is they’re having a big United Nations convention down there, so there’s some stuff going on. We’re working through it trying to figure this whole thing out,” White said to the assembled media.
The U.N. conference was announced after the UFC first announced their intentions to hold an event in Rio on June 23rd, and will draw tens of thousands of visitors to the city, in addition to heads of state. White says that he’s essentially being told that Rio ain’t big enough for the both of the UFC and U.N.
“We know that the Chael Sonnen-Anderson Silva fight [is] one of the biggest sporting events this year in the world, so we need to make sure ( that there will be room) especially when you’re doing an 80,000-seat soccer stadium. There better be some hotel rooms,” White said.
“We’re waiting to hear back,” he continued. “We’re trying to figure this whole thing out. The problem is that first of all they don’t like the idea of us coming at the same time as this United Nations convention is going on. The other problem is hotel rooms. Most of the hotel rooms are being taken up.”
White says that he had hoped to have the situation resolved before this weekend but that he expects that the UFC will “get this thing done within the next few days, one way or the other.”