Perhaps the hottest feud in MMA right now is one that might not ever take place. Although Wanderlei Silva (32-9-1 1 NC) faces Rich Franklin (24-4 1 NC) this Saturday at UFC 99: The Comeback, the fight everyone has been talking about is the one brewing between one-time friends turned bitter rivals, Wanderlei Silva and Anderson Silva.
While many trace the feud between the two back to April, when Anderson called Wanderlei’s move to middleweight “pretentious”, their feud can actually be traced back many years. Both Anderson and Wanderlei competed in the now-defunct PRIDE organization and trained together at the Chute Boxe Academy in Brazil, a Muay Thai academy where Wanderlei was their top dog. Wanderlei even cornered Anderson for several of his fights in PRIDE.
Anderson left the academy in early 2005 to start Muay Thai Dream Team after several disputes with Chute Boxe’s management. As revealed last night on the UFC 99 Countdown show, Anderson blamed Wanderlei for not being used by PRIDE after his departure from Chute Box, as Wanderlei was PRIDE’s biggest star. Anderson’s last fight with PRIDE was during his stint with Chute Box on December 31, 2004, when he lost to Ryo Chonan via submission in the third round – a fight where he was cornered by Wanderlei.
Wanderlei noted during the UFC 99 Countdown show that he’s not responsible for making fights, and skirted responsibility for Anderson not being used by PRIDE again.
“I never talked anything bad about him; I always respected him,” Wanderlei said this past April in an interview with Sherdog. “He has always been my friend, always respected me, but now he came with that statement [about Wanderlei’s move being pretentious]. I can’t understand that. I didn’t come down to 185 to face him. Actually I didn’t have that intention . . . Changing divisions and fighting the champion would be too pretentious.
“I should have to have many fights before facing him, but concerning his last statements, I think the way is open and the war is declared.”