Chris Weidman may only have nine fights as a professional mixed martial artist, but he has quickly become accustomed to the whirlwind media responsibilities that a top-tier UFC fighter must endure during the lead-up to a fight.
In his next fight, Weidman will meet middleweight champion and widely regarded top pound-for-pound fighter Anderson Silva in what will easily be the biggest fight of his still blossoming career. They are slated to headline UFC 162 on July 6 in Las Vegas.
Undefeated in his professional career, Weidman has long been considered the top up-and-comer at 185 pounds to contend with “The Spider” in a division that Silva has ruled with an iron fist since his Octagon debut in 2006.
Over his illustrious and unblemished UFC career, Silva has been saddled with his fair share of press tours and media responsibilities. And by all accounts, even in a sport where “Brazilian Time” runs rampant, Silva is typically known for meeting his obligations.
Which made it that much more perplexing when, earlier this week, the usually punctual Brazilian was fined $50,000 for missing a set of media obligations in Los Angeles.
“We had a full media day set up for him in Los Angeles, and he just decided he didn’t want to do it,” UFC president Dana White told USA Today Sports. “So he’s being fined $50,000.”
Silva said that what happened was a miscommunication between him and the UFC, according to a report from MMAWeekly.com content partner Yahoo! Sports. He said he was made aware of the appointment only Monday, when he was already going to Los Angeles International airport to catch a flight to Brazil.
Weidman, during a media tour in support of UFC 162, on Thursday told MMAWeekly.com that despite Silva costing him precious time in training camp, and time with his family, he’s not taking it personally.
“I don’t really look into things crazy. That’s not really were my focus is,” Weidman responded when asked if he took the missed obligations as a sign of disrespect.
“But I did do a lot of travelling for this (media obligations). I did go to L.A. for three days. I went to Toronto. I went to Montreal and did media for that. I was at the Newark fights (UFC 159). I’m here in Vegas for a couple of days.
“I’m taking time out of my training and my family work to be here. But I’m not going to judge Anderson and compare him to me, but I’m doing it and he should too.”
The missed responsibilities and subsequent fine came as a surprise to many pundits and fans, alike. Even for Weidman, who tends to limit his exposure to all the “he-said, she-said” talk that floats around, the news came as a surprise. He was in Southern California at the time, scheduled to shoot promos with Silva.
After hearing of Silva’s mistake, for a brief moment, the usually low-key 28-year-old thought about hitting social media and going “Sonnen” on Silva.
“(When I first heard) I thought, I wonder if I should go on Twitter and bust some balls and do something crazy or do I just kind of let this one slide or wait for people to come to me for interviews,” he said.
With the social media landscape safe from any Weidman tirades – for now – the Matt Serra-Ray Longo product reiterated that, although he may not sit atop the same pedestal as Silva, he’s still a professional.
“I’m not in Anderson Silva’s situation,” stated Weidman.
“I haven’t defended the belt 11 times in a row, and I haven’t dealt with as much media as he has; but it’s a part of your job no matter how big you become.”
Weidman was quick to use another famous face to make his point.
“Look at Lebron James,” he said in reference to James’ Miami Heat being upset by the Chicago Bulls in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Monday.
“The guy looses one game – what’s he lost two games out of 42 or 43 or something like that – he looses one game and he’s at his locker with cameras in his face, ‘Oh, tell me why this team is so good right now.’ He has to start talking good about a team he just lost to.
“No one wants to do that, but you still have to. He doesn’t want to, but he does it.”