UFC middleweight and MMA veteran Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort has been sitting on the cusp of a title shot since re-entering the UFC in September of 2009 with a knockout win over former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin. Belfort was supposed to face fellow Brazilian Anderson Silva for his UFC Middleweight Title at UFC 112 this past April in Abu Dhabi but was forced to pull out of the fight with a shoulder injury. Belfort is now fully healed and ready to fight and, despite calling for a title shot against Silva directly after Silva’s successful title defense against Chael Sonnen this past weekend at UFC 117, recently told MMAPrime’s Aaron Tru that he does not intend to sit on the shelf waiting for Silva and “The Phenom” also had a few choice words for Silva’s manager and translator, Ed Soares.
“He took care of business, he won,” Belfort said of Silva’s UFC 117 title defense. “But Chael was winning the fight, he committed a big mistake at the end of the fight and it cost him the whole four rounds that he did. He paid. I think he’s really sad right now and disappointed. That’s why it’s called MMA. This is the sport. That’s why the sport has been growing and growing. Anything can happen in the Octagon, anything can happen.”
Sonnen bested Silva for four and a half rounds before Silva eked out the victory by securing a picture-perfect triangle choke in the waning moments of the fight. Belfort issued a call to UFC President Dana White for Silva’s title via Twitter after the fight but told MMAPrime that he does not intend on waiting around for too long while Silva recovers from injured ribs; that he will fight as soon as he can against whomever the UFC wants him to fight.
“Nah, man. I’m not gonna be waiting for Anderson,” Belfort said. “I don’t fight for Anderson, I fight for the fans, if the fans want to see me fight. I fight for the UFC, if the UFC wants me back on the card. … That’s it, just wait. Lorenzo [Fertitta] and Dana are gonna make a decision. The whole UFC team, they’re gonna make a decision. I really want that title so I’m really focused on what I want and I will do whatever I need to do to get the title shot.”
Silva’s manager and translator, Ed Soares, has come to be the target of much fan criticism (not to mention Chael Sonnen’s vitriol) for allegedly purposefully mistranslating his fighters in order to present them in a better light. The normally soft-spoken Belfort counts himself among Soares’ detractors and had a few things to say about the Black House team manager’s tactics.
“The only person who can speak for me, is me and I think the UFC should take this clown away,” Belfort said of Soares. “He looks like a clown. Put in a translator who can translate the real thing that Anderson is speaking. He’s saying something and [Soares] is translating in a way that he can look good. I think the fans deserve to know what the person is really meaning.”
Belfort then added, “Anderson is the star. He needs to speak. He needs to talk by himself.”
Belfort entered into the UFC one of the youngest fighters the organization has ever seen and racked up an impressive of knockout wins over well-respected veterans. After a lull in his career that had many writing “The Phenom” off, Belfort roared back into prominence with five straight wins over solid competition, with four of those coming via knockout or technical knockout. His last appearance was his first back in the UFC where he knocked out Rich “Ace” Franklin in the first round of their UFC 103 meeting.