The fight the MMA community thought would never happen now looks to be nearing an official date as Bellator president Scott Coker is targeting Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva for the summer of 2017.
Since signing with Bellator Chael Sonnen has already mentioned fights with some of the legends of the sport were on his agenda with a showdown with Tito Ortiz appearing close to being a done deal for the end of the year.
Also on his list is ‘The Axe Murderer’ Wanderlei Silva, but that unfortunately can’t happen right now due to the suspension he is currently under by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The NSAC slapped Silva with a lifetime ban which was later overturned to three-year suspension for which ends on May 24th 2017. He will be eligible to fight as of May 25th onwards.
Speaking yesterday, Coker revealed the suspension is the only reason they promotion has to wait until next summer before using the former Pride middleweight champion.
“We’ve have a contract with Wanderlei Silva even before Rizin ever got him on-board,” Coker said. “With the contract we have with him, he won’t be able to fight for us until he is cleared with NSAC. I think in May he will be cleared to compete for Bellator.
“Since Bellator contracted Chael Sonnen, believe me, we’ve been getting texts and calls from Wanderlei saying that he wants that fight. So, I think you’ll see that fight some time in 2017 for Bellator.”
Sonnen vs. Silva was due to take place over the July 4th weekend back in 2014, part of the summer blockbuster UFC 175 main card offering. Although this fight would now take place three years later, Coker believes the fight will still generate massive interest from the MMA community and beyond.
“That’s going to be a fight where everybody stops whatever they’re doing to turn on the TV to see the fight,” Coker added. “As we all know, that fight has been building for a number of years and they couldn’t work it out, but now I feel the timing is perfect.
“It’s very difficult to pinpoint exactly when we can put it on, it’s kind of a moving target in a way, but I think some time in the summer for sure.”