Manager to some of the biggest names in the game, Ed Soares recently spoke with Ariel Helwani on the Monday episode of MMAFighting.com’s The MMA Hour about perhaps his most prominent client, UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. Silva is considered by many to be the best fighter on the planet, though he almost lost that title when he came within a hair of being defeated by Chael Sonnen. Sonnen and Silva fought early this past August and the challenger bruised and battered Silva over five rounds before succumbing to a hail-mary triangle choke applied by the champ. In the fallout since that fight, it was revealed that Sonnen failed his UFC 117 pre-fight performance enhancing drug screening and that Silva was fighting with a seriously injured rib.
With a year-long suspension hanging over his head due to his positive test results, Sonnen’s immediate rematch with Silva has been put on hold and “The Spider” is now looking at facing fellow Brazilian Vitor Belfort in his next title defense. Soares offered Helwani a timeline for that title defense and also discussed dealing with Silva’s rib injury prior to UFC 117.
“No confirmed date; it’s not signed yet,” Soares said of the Silva-Belfort title fight. “It’ll happen in the early portion of 2011, but it’s not going to happen Jan. 1 just because he wants to make sure he’s 100 percent. He feels good – he’s probably 80-85 percent.”
Silva is currently out nursing the rib injury, which he sustained while training with Japanese judoka Satoshi Ishii just weeks before his title fight with Sonnen, and Soares gave Helwani some insight into what it was like dealing with and hiding the injury in the days leading up to the fight.
“The doctor at the hospital – I’m not going to say they tried to convince him, they were just saying, ‘Hey, we don’t recommend you fight,’ ” Soares said.
Soares also said that pulling out of the fight was never an option in Silva’s mind, that the champ’s attitude was, “it is what it is – the fight’s on … he’s got to go in there and try to do it.”
Helwani pointed out that Silva’s pre-fight media workout for UFC 117 was fairly high-energy and that it seemed as though it was business as usual for the champ. Soares revealed that Silva had been taking it easy up to that point and was doing his best to appear uninjured to all in attendance in order to keep the injury under wraps.
“If there’s going to be one training session to (go strong) at, it’s going to be the media workouts so everyone thinks he’s fine,” Soares said. “… Everyone else is going to see, and everyone is going to think it’s business as usual. But that’s not the case. We kept it under wraps. This is serious. That was one of the most difficult weeks of my life as a manager.”
Silva currently holds the record for most consecutive, successful title defenses in the UFC at seven. He is also undefeated in the UFC and holds the record for most consecutive victories in the promotion.