A spat has developed between Vitor Belfort and a prominent MMA reporter in Brazil after the reporter, Gustavo Noblat, published quotes which Belfort has denied giving.
Noblat reported that Belfort had sat in a restaurant the day after UFC 142 and said that Wanderlei Silva, his rival coach on the upcoming TUF Brazil, has no chin left and will need a new gameplan if he doesnât want Belfort to KO him when they fight.
After they were published, Belfort went on Twitter and refuted the comments. He said they âsounded strangeâ and observed that he and Wanderlei have settled their differences recently.
âI'd like to make clear that I did not say anything about [Wanderlei] has no chin @ wandfc [I] said it would be a very hard fight,â he wrote on Twitter, adding that he âalways respect[s] opponents.â
But OGlobo.com journalist Gustavo Noblat has countered via the Brazilian forum Portal do Valetudo to explain to the readers what went on when he met Belfort for lunch at Fasano Restaurant in Rio de Janeiro with a group of friends.
âBelfort used the words âhe wonât have a chanceâ and âhe doesnât have the chinâ. He also said that it is going to be like the first bout between them and that it will end in knockout. I didnât put words in his mouth,â he wrote.
âHe may have thought I wouldnât publish it but he would know when he answers a question of a journalist and says âinform Wand to change the gameplan because this [usual] way, he wonât have a chanceââŚ it is obvious the journalist will publish it.â
Â Noblat added that if Belfort had expressly stated that the comments were off-record he would have abided by that. He claims that Belfort actually approved what was to be published, but has since stepped away from the comments to avoid inflaming Wanderlei.
âBelfort doesnât want to create a tense environment with Wand and would rather pull back [from these comments]. But he even compared the damage to the chin to the injury [Wanderlei had] on the knee, saying âThe more an athlete takes hits on the knee, the easier he is to injureâ, Noblat explained.
âI didnât use everything he said because the focus of the column was not Wanderlei. But Belfort approved the column and I believe those fans avid for hot news and backstage stories also liked it.â
While the episode may now serve to damage or even sever relations between Belfort and Noblat, whoâs OGlobo employer is a mainstream news source in Brazil, it also serves to highlight the problems reporters face when fighters make candid comments without specifying that they are on or off the record.
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