Anderson Silva knows what he wants and now he's playing hardball to get it.
The 42-year-old MMA legend is still without an opponent for UFC 212, scheduled for June 3 at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. On Monday, during an appearance on “The MMA Hour” with Ariel Helwani, “The Spider” let his feelings -- and his fight preference -- be known, as well as the potential stakes if the Ultimate Fighting Championship doesn't acquiesce to his demand: retirement.
“I never talk about bad situations in UFC; I think I’m done,” Silva revealed. “I fight for [a] long time in my life. And I’m tired, bro. I’m so upset. I have my legacy, I have my story. It’s very frustrating, because this is the second time I’m not fighting in my country.”
Silva was scheduled to face “Ultimate Fighter 17” winner Kelvin Gastelum in a middeweight contest. However, following his win over Vitor Belfort on March 11 in Fortaleza, Brazil, Gastelum was flagged for marijuana metabolites in a post-fight drug test and subsequently pulled from the bout officially on April 6.
“This is not my fault for Gastelum to go out of the fight; this is not my problem. My problem is training hard for fight in Brazil for my fans” Silva continued. “What happens to my fans now? What happens to the people who paid to see my fight in Brazil. This is the second time this happened. I’m tired of this.”
After Gastelum's removal from the contest, Silva initially expressed interest in a bout with fellow flashy striker Uriah Hall, but ultimately came around to lobbying for an interim 185-pound title fight with Yoel Romero, the UFC's No. 1 contender who has been in promotional limbo as the promotion pursues a middleweight title fight in the fall between champion Michael Bisping and recently unretired former welterweight king Georges St. Pierre.
“I say, ‘OK, I go fight Yoel Romero,’ because I know I respect Yoel Romero, he’s a great fighter. He’s No. 1 in the ranks. But one thing – why [would] Yoel Romero come to Brazil for fight me for nothing?” Silva stressed.
“The guys no give this fight for me for the interim belt, I’m done. I’ll go be with my family. I’m done.”
In a bizarre and intriguing twist to the interview, Romero actually called in to “The MMA Hour” during Silva's segment to express his mutual interest in the proposed interim title belt and his own inflexibility surrounding his next fight. “I fight only with Anderson for the interim belt,” said Romero. “If not for him, I [will] wait for my time for the belt.”