Look, we all know that Vitor Belfort is leaving Affliction after his fight in August. That much was confirmed on the night that Dana White went on Spike television and talked about Belfort facing Anderson Silva, because despite what White now claims, he’s not going to go on television and talk about a guy unless he feels like he has him under contract. It would be a display of bad promotional skills to promote someone who you don’t have under contract, and White’s burning at the hands of Mirko Cro Cop likely only solidified his distrust of doing anything that he doesn’t have locked down. He went on television to talk about Belfort, and therefore he must feel like he has an iron-clad deal in place with Belfort.
The fact that White is backpedaling from his statements at this point is likely due to a legal issue. He made the mistake of talking about a guy coming into the UFC who is under contract with another promotion, and he did so on television. I’m not sure if Affliction sent any kind of cease and desist order to Zuffa headquarters or if White is just heeding the advice of his own company lawyers, but the words coming out of White’s mouth regarding Belfort at this point are the words of someone who is very gently stepping around a legal landmine.
Obviously, Belfort has to beat Jorge Santiago, and that’s not a guaranteed win. Belfort can certainly win the fight (and should win the fight), but he can lose. If he loses, will White still be interested in bringing him in? Probably, but it won’t be for an immediate title shot against Anderson Silva, which seems to be the focus of Belfort’s efforts in dropping to the middleweight division.
There would still be plenty of interesting fights available for Belfort even if he were to lose to Santiago, but he could cost himself a potential title shot and a ton of money with a loss.
Tags: Affliction, Dana White, UFC, Vitor Belfort