MANILA, Philippines – Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva of Brazil offered to save the company’s UFC 151 event by headlining the fight card as a light heavyweight.
According to a report from ESPN, Silva offered to “accept a light heavyweight fight on eight days’ notice if it would salvage UFC 151.”
A bizarre series of events led to the cancellation of UFC 151 -- a first time in the company's history.
Jon “Bones” Jones was supposed to defend his light heavyweight belt against Dan Henderson in the main event, but Henderson suffered an injury that led him to pull out of the fight.
Middleweight contender Chael Sonnen then offered to take Henderson’s place, but Jones turned down the fight, and eventually, the entire fight card was scrapped.
But Silva’s manager, Ed Soares, revealed that “The Spider” had tried to save the fight card.
“Anderson called me, said he heard about the event getting cancelled,” Soares told ESPN. “He goes, ‘Well dude, tell (UFC president) Dana (White) I haven’t been training and I’m not in the best shape. I wouldn’t be able to make 185-pounds, but if he could find another 205-pound fighter willing to take the fight on eight days’ notice, I’d be willing to take the fight to save the event.’”
“'I don’t want to see the other fights on the card not be able to fight and all of it. I don’t know if that will make a difference.’”
But White declined Silva’s offer as it was too late to save the card.
Soares explained that Silva would have been willing to fight any other lightweight except Jones, as the Brazilian would need more time to prepare for the champion.
Silva has not fought at the light heavyweight division since 2009, when he knocked out Forrest Griffin at UFC 101.
The middleweight champion is coming off a second round knockout victory over rival Sonnen at UFC 148 in a rematch of the UFC 117 classic.
In an MMA Fighting report, White said he did not expect Silva to make an offer and that he “appreciated the offer.”