Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort is a fight that stands on it own. It doesn’t need a hook like many main events do to capture fans’ interest. Neither fighter is a trash talker and that didn’t change at yesterday’s pre-fight press conference. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt if there was more for fans to latch onto than the potential for an epic fight, and that’s exactly what MMA Fighting’s Mike Chiappetta found when he looked for a story to tell.
Speaking to veteran Brazillian MMA reporter Fernando Kallas, who has spent a considerable amount of time with both fighters over the years, Chiappetta discovered that Silva has quite a bit of animosity towards Belfort for accepting a fight with him after Silva helped him get through Vitor’s sister’s kidnapping several years ago.
“Last week, I was talking with Anderson,” he said, “and Anderson said to me, ‘If I have the opportunity, I’m going to hurt Vitor. I’m going to hurt him really bad.”
Years ago, when Belfort was going through bad times — including the still unsolved kidnapping and murder of his sister Priscila — he moved from Rio to Belo Horizonte. Silva, who was living in Rio at the time, dropped everything to spend time in Belo Horizonte with Belfort and help him along.
Their friendship remained intact afterward, but things have changed drastically in the last year. The reason? Silva reportedly was quite offended that Belfort would accept a fight with him after their history together. While Belfort saw it as a simple professional decision, Silva took it as a personal affront.
“Anderson works like Chute Boxe,” said Kallas. “He needs to feel excited for the fight. He needs to have an enemy. Anderson feels betrayed. He helped [Vitor] out and he was surprised that Vitor would fight him.”
It’s kind of silly, but not surprising. Anderson had similar issues with former Chute Boxe teammate Wanderlei Silva when Wand dropped to middleweight and the talk of them potentially fighting spread across the community. They’ve patched things up since, but it’s become clear that Silva has a difficult time separating his personal relationships from his professional career.
I have a difficult time understanding it as does Vitor who isn’t taking the fight personally or at least wasn’t before, but I’m glad it has Silva fired up nonetheless. Maybe he’ll finally fight like the human wrecking ball we all know he’s capable of once again.
On a side note, pre-fight hype pieces rarely get me amped up for a fight anymore than I already am, but Chiappetta’s did just that. It’s a must-read.