The rematch between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman for the UFC middleweight title will be held Dec. 28 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas in the main event of UFC 168.
Dana White made the announcement live on ESPN's SportsCenter at approximately 6:30 p.m. ET. He told Yahoo! Sports he closed the deal only an hour earlier, despite numerous reports out of Brazil all week that the deal was finished.
But the seeds of the deal were sown at a friendly lunch on Thursday between White, Silva and Silva managers Ed Soares and Jorge Guimares at Montage restaurant in Beverly Hills, Calif.
White had told Yahoo! Sports several times between Sunday and Wednesday, after Silva was knocked out in the second round by Weidman at UFC 162 in Las Vegas on July 6, that he hadn't spoken to Silva or his management team.
"I wanted to give him some space, and let him have the time he needs, and when he's ready to talk, we'll talk," White told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday. "That's not that unusual for me with our big stars. After Georges [St-Pierre, the welterweight champion] beat [Nick] Diaz, I didn't talk to him for more than a month.
"I know Anderson said he didn't want the rematch, but I told you all along that I knew he would want it after he thought about it a little bit."
Soares reiterated several times to White that he should not bring up the fight to Silva while the men were eating.
"We sat down, and my partner, Jorge, was there with us, and I had to get up to use the rest room," Soares said. "And when I came back, Jorge, Anderson and Dana were talking about the fight."
White said he had agreed with Soares and just went for a friendly lunch. But he said the minute Silva sat down, he began to talk about a rematch. White, then, was happy to oblige.
White switched the women's bantamweight title fight between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, that had been expected to be the main event of UFC 168, to the co-main to accommodate Silva-Weidman.
White several times Saturday said he thought the bout would be the biggest in UFC history and said he thought it could do between 1.2 million and 1.4 million on pay-per-view.
The UFC does not release its pay-per-view figures, but it is believed that UFC 100, at 1.25 million, is the best-selling pay-per-view the promotion has done.
Weidman said at the post-fight news conference on Saturday that he wanted the rematch. During a victory tour, in which he made several prominent appearances, including on "The Jim Rome Show" and "SportsCenter," he referred to the rematch as a "done deal" for either December or February.
That coincided with reports out of Brazil, specifically on Friday from GQ Brazil and on Saturday from the Globo television network, that said a rematch was finalized.
White was irate about all the rumors when speaking with Yahoo! Sports Saturday after making the announcement about the rematch. Everything, he said, was untrue and made it more difficult to get a deal.
"Globo is our partner -- our [expletive] partner," White said. "But not only did they go out and make an announcement that was completely [expletive] wrong at the time, but they said that they had [expletive] gotten it from me! That was complete and total [expletive].
"I'm here in Laguna Beach with my family, and all [expletive] day, people were coming up to me and saying, 'We're glad the rematch is happening in December.' And I was like, 'No! No! No!' I was going nuts and I finally said, 'I want to get all this [expletive] with Anderson's schedule cleared up and I want bout agreements signed by Anderson and Chris today."
White said late Friday that one problem that had arisen for a rematch in December, when he preferred to host it, was Silva's schedule. He was supposed to do a sponsor's tour that White said would take more than two weeks in Brazil. After that, he had other business obligations in Japan that would take more than a week.
There was concern whether Silva would have enough time to train with those obligations.
Soares wouldn't discuss specifics, but he said they were worked out satisfactorily.
"We had a lot of work to do and then make sure Anderson would have time to train and that his coaches would be available and all of that," Soares said. "But we got it worked out and he's excited about the fight."
Silva was doing a seminar in San Diego on Saturday, Soares said, and unavailable for comment. But Silva did release a short video to "SportsCenter."
"I'm back," Silva said on the video. "Trust me, I'm back."
He then winked.
Soares said he hasn't spoken much with Silva about the bout, but that there was no need to do so.
"He knows he made a mistake and he's ready to go out there and get his title back," Soares said.
Weidman was attending a wedding on Saturday and could not be reached.
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