UFC President Dana White didn't seem too pleased that Mauricio "Shogun" Rua opted to fight Brandon Vera instead of Glover Teixeira, a 32-year-old BJJ expert that the league has been promoting heavily, in the upcoming "UFC on Fox 4" main event.
Shogun vs Vera
"Dude, nobody wants to fight this guy," White said of Teixeira. "We're trying to match this guy up with someone, but [Shogun] didn't mind fighting Brandon Vera, so he's fighting Brandon Vera."
He added "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 on the phone, because I'm going to say what was said. Shogun's a warrior. The guy's fought everybody from PRIDE to the UFC. His last fight with Dan Henderson was awesome. It is what it is."
"Shogun" is slated to fight Vera at the "UFC on Fox 4" event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA on Aug. 4, while Teixeira will fight Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 153 on Oct. 13 in Brazil.
In related news, Anderson Silva expressed during the UFC 148 post-fight presser that he wasn't interested in moving up to light heavyweight to test his skills against Jon Jones, even though that is the hot fight that many fans want to see in 2012.
The Anderson Silva Dilemma
With so much recent pickiness in the UFC ranks, it seems like a good time to bring up the issue of fighters choosing their opponents.
Part of what makes the UFC great is the fact that, unlike boxing, the fights that the fans want to see will usually end up happening. In the first 20 years of the league, we never had anything close to the boxing debacle of Floyd Mayweather ducking out on an opportunity to fight Manny Pacquiao.
The great UFC fights that fans were clamoring to see would always end up going down without issue. However, it seems like the power has shifted of late, as the top fights that fans want to see, don't appear to be on the radar. Jon Jones versus Anderson Silva may never happen, and Georges St-Pierre vs Silva doesn't seem likely in the near future.
The Liddell Factor
In the past, the UFC frowned on fighters who ducked out of fights and got overly picky about who their opponent would be, as they wanted the Chuck Liddell types that would fight anyone, anywhere, without asking too many questions.
Should a UFC fighter be allowed to pick their opponent?
In my view, they should not be allowed to pick and choose. Dana White and UFC matchmaker Joe Silva work hard to put on the fights that the fans want to see, and being that this is an entertainment business, that should be more important than any other factor.
Joe Silva Is Usually On The Mark
A fighter, when brought into the league, should be told that they must be willing to fight anyone Joe Silva matches them up with. When it comes to a veteran like Rua, Henderson or Anderson Silva, White seems to be more lenient when it comes to allowing them to pick their opponents.
I believe all the fighters on the roster should be treated equally, as there's no reason why fans shouldn't have the opportunity to see a superfight between Silva and Jones or St-Pierre, or a brawl between "Shogun" and Teixeira.
Should UFC fighters be allowed to pick their opponents? Let me know in the comments.
Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC fan and supporter of the sport of MMA. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts
- Anderson Silva
- Brandon Vera
- Glover Teixeira
- Dana White