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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
When Thiago Silva pulled out of his UFC 149 bout with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua with an injury, the fight the UFC wanted to put together was "Shogun" vs. Glover Teixeira. However, UFC President Dana White said that Rua's camp turned down that fight, leaving him without an opponent.
Rua's manager denied that claim in a follow-up interview with Tatame.com, then when Brian Stann came up injured, necessitating a new headliner for UFC on Fox 4, the UFC offered Shogun a bout with Brandon Vera, which he accepted.
On Friday, following the UFC on FX 3 event, White refuted the denials from Shogun's manager, and went further into what was said in regards to the proposed Glover Teixeira fight.
"He didn't want to fight the guy that we wanted," White told Ariel Helwani on the Fuel TV Post-Fight Show. "He said he'd actually rather be cut than have to fight him. Nobody wants to fight this guy, nobody wants to fight this guy. We're trying to match this guy up with somebody. But he didn't mind fighting Brandon Vera, so he's fighting Brandon Vera."
White insists he's simply telling the truth regarding the exchange, and that he's not attempting to disparage the former champ. Still, it's a decision that he can't quite wrap his head around.
"I don't want to sound like I'm disrespecting Shogun, because I'm not, I'm just telling the truth," White said. "It's verbatim what his people said when we talked to them, and you know me, I tell it like it is. If you don't want that out in public, then don't say it to me, don't say it on the phone, because I'm gonna say what was said. But Shogun's a warrior, the guy's fought everyone from Pride to the UFC; his last fight with Dan Henderson was awesome... It's one of those weird situations; I've never seen a guy at the level that Shogun is at not want to fight a guy so bad."
Penick's Analysis: I'm not sure what White gains by throwing this exchange out there, and I'm sure Shogun's camp will turn around and deny that it happened, but Shogun's still in their next main event. They're not selling it much by saying, "Shogun didn't want to fight this guy, but he jumped at the Vera fight." That doesn't do anyone any good, and this little off-topic run about a fight that's not happening doesn't really make anyone look good. That said, I still can understand why Rua wouldn't want a fight with Teixeira. There's nothing to gain from that fight and everything to lose against a dangerous but unknown opponent. Losing to Brandon Vera might be worse in the eyes of many, but it's not as big of a risk as the Teixeira fight, and he's getting a main event slot on Fox.
[Mauricio "Shogun" Rua art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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