• UFC 147

Silva slams 'chicken' Belfort

ESPN staff
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Vitor Belfort is unable to train for four weeks © Getty Images
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Wanderlei Silva has hit out at Vitor Belfort for withdrawing from their eagerly-awaited clash at UFC 147, saying his rival "chickened out".

Silva and Belfort were scheduled to headline in Brazil on June 23, only for the latter to pull out after breaking a bone in his hand during training.

The pair, currently rival coaches on Brazil's localised series of The Ultimate Fighter, were set to lock horns for the first time since 1998, but Silva is now looking for another opponent.

Replying to a previous statement from Belfort saying he would beat him with only one hand, Silva said on Twitter, as translated by Fighters Only: "Wish you had one? Hahahaha sir, you're a boaster!!!"

He continued: "We're professionals. It is a big irresponsibility not to take care in training, a huge disrespect to fans! I was too sad with all of this. I am ready to knock you out but there is nowhere to hide, this fight will happen. You can't run, [or] hide.

"Nobody punches so hard in training [that they break their hands]. We use the best equipment: gloves, gel, bandage. I think he chickened out. If he was afraid, he couldn't have accepted the fight. What will it be like now for the main people interested [fans] in this fight?

"If it is really broken, it is amateurism; if not, he surrendered. In both hypotheses there is much disrespect, lack of responsibility with the public!"

An irate Silva persisted with his condemnation, criticising Belfort for using injury as an excuse not to fight. He said: "I am - beg your pardon for the word - f***** with this amateurism. A main event in the biggest event of the world and the guy comes with that? No, there is no excuse."

Michael Simini - Belfort's doctor - disagreed with Silva's assessment. He said: "Dear Wanderlei… Suggesting that Vitor's injury didn't occur is to doubt my professional ethic. I have nothing to do with the rivalry of you two but I can assure you that if it had happened to you, you would be as debilitated as him."

Belfort did not issue a direct response to Silva's comments, instead preferring to thank his fans for their support. He wrote: "The emotional unbalance of a person reveals his fears. I thank my fans for the kindness and also my sponsors. Confidence isn't arrogance. I stay confident and keep my respect for my adversary for my fight now against my injury."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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