- Brett Okamoto, ESPN Staff Writer
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UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva offered to accept a light heavyweight fight on eight days' notice if it would salvage UFC 151, called off Thursday after the loss of its main event.
Ed Soares, Silva's manager, confirmed to ESPN.com his fighter contacted him from Brazil on Thursday to inform the UFC he was willing to headline the card as a light heavyweight. MMAFighting.com first reported news of Silva's offer.
Ultimately, of course, UFC president Dana White declined Silva's offer, responding to Soares it was too late to save the card.
"Anderson called me, said he heard about the event getting canceled," Soares told ESPN.com.
"He goes, 'Well dude, tell Dana I haven't been training and I'm not in the best shape. I wouldn't be able to make 185 pounds, but if he could find another 205-pound fighter willing to take the fight on eight days' notice, I'd be willing to take the fight to save the event. I don't want to see the other fighters on the card not be able to fight and the fans and all of it. I don't know if that will make a difference.'"
The UFC announced Thursday it was scrapping the UFC 151 event in Las Vegas after an injury forced light heavyweight Dan Henderson off the card and champion Jon Jones turned down a replacement fight against Chael Sonnen.
Soares said Silva was willing to fight another light heavyweight but not Jones, as he would obviously want reasonable time to prepare for a fight of that magnitude.
Previously, Silva had said he wished to take the rest of 2012 off after a win over Sonnen at UFC 148 in July.
"He's got a lot of stuff going on right now, and there aren't any fights that make a lot of sense," Soares said on Silva's decision to rest until 2013. "But Anderson has a big heart. I was really bummed out yesterday to hear the UFC had to cancel an entire event. That was a kick in the stomach to, I think, every fighter in the organization.
"Some fighters get big paydays, but other smaller fighters now don't have a paycheck from that event, and it's sad."
Silva (32-4) is widely considered the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He holds the UFC record for successful title defenses at 10. His last fight at 205 pounds was a knockout win over Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 in August 2009.
In addition to Silva and Sonnen, middleweight contender Chris Weidman reportedly offered to headline the Sept. 1 event. UFC officials have since announced Jones will meet Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 on Sept. 22 in Toronto.