Rich vs. Poor – The Untold Story Behind Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort

Disclaimer: This is coming from a poster on a forum, so in the end while it seems legit and he was questioned by the posters on the forum; they came to the conclusion that this guy was not making it up. Take it with a grain of salt, nevertheless, it’s a fun read and interesting in the least.

I’ve seen many posts regarding “what is going on between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort”, so I decided to share with you guys what is going on. I have some pieces of the puzzles you guys don’t have, notably, the access to Portuguese language, forums and the exposure to the Brazilian media. I also happen to know a lot of the background situation in the camps and witnessing how fighters acted/said/behaved during a relatively large time frame. So when you guys look at Anderson and don’t “get it”, but you feel that there is “something going on”. Every human being is sensitive enough to know that there is “something going on”. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW/CARE “WHAT IS GOING ON”, and feel that this might increase the satisfaction from watching the fight and its consequences afterwards, this is the topic.

Back in UFC Brazil, when Vitor Belfort knocked out Wanderlei Silva, Anderson still trained with Chute Boxe. At that time, Chute Boxe had many prospects but Anderson wasn’t even named. This was back in 1998. Anderson’s first fight was in 2000, on Mecca I. Anderson got accepted into Chute Boxe after two amateur Vale Tudo fights. Vitor Belfort’s fight with Wanderlei Silva was in 1998. Two years before Anderson Silva even came to Chute Boxe. At the time Anderson Silva came to Chute Boxe, there were already fighters with more “prestige” in the team. Obviously, he wasn’t the focus.

Anderson was nobody. He was just an outsider at that point. He still hadn’t learned how to use his reach with Pele, and just started to learn Muay Thai. Chute Boxe rivalries with other camps were legendary. Their mentality was akin to military.

Vitor Belfort won the belt in 1997 at 19 years old. He was the phenom and his popularity skyrocketed. Vitor Belfort influenced a generation, he was on the media 10 times more than any other Brazilian fighter. His popularity was unanimous. Everybody wanted to be like Vitor Belfort, train Jiu Jitsu, and hit the weights. Vitor was marketed as a golden boy, a golden mine. He came from an above average wealth family, in Brazil you could easily put him in the minorities. He had everything, he was young, handsome, famous, godly physique, the champion. Nothing compared to him.

Then when his sister disappeared, he got even more media attention, it became a national known drama happening live, he appeared on main television station from often making appeals for information on his sister. People empathized with him. You can find his appearances on Brazilian national television on YouTube, hundreds of them.

Other fighters just appeared on closed televisions, or publishing magazines, but not Vitor Belfort. People admired him and some were jealous of him.

After he defeated Wanderlei Silva, a really bad blood started against Belfort from Chute Boxe, whenever they talked about him. At that point, everybody in the gym were subject to abstract the hate against Belfort, but that is just the start of it.

Many years later, after Chute Boxe started to crack, with many fighters leaving, Belfort went to train with Chute Boxe. At that time, Wand had just moved to U.S. It was something UNTHINKABLE for Vitor Belfort to train with Chute Boxe. Vitor was and remained an enemy for a long time.

Some people don’t understand this “enemy” mentality. I will put it briefly… in Brazil there are many good fighters and they have to fight against themselves and only the best have a chance to go to U.S. or Japan. There was a thick bottle neck for Brazilian fighters until not long ago. Having the opportunity to fight in U.S. and Japan meant a lot, it still means a lot, because winning in Brazil doesn’t count, you couldn’t and still can’t make money here. This is slightly changing, but its subject to another topic.

Anderson Silva was never the favorite puppy of Chute Boxe, it was an incredible camp and there he was just an average guy, a beginner, people were doing him a favour in letting him train there. He had to work at McDonalds, serving a lot of rich kids, or playboys with their fancy clothes and arrogant behaviour, always looking down on him because he is black. Prejudice in the south states of Brazil is STRONG. He wasn’t just black, he was poor, he was just another nobody with a very strong sense of self. He trained unbelievably hard, he did his best and still he didn’t see a light, an opportunity. He wasn’t satisfied with the situation. Its subject to another topic as well, but just to say it briefly Rudimar Fedrigo, the head leader of Chute Boxe was a very dictator/authoritarian/shady guy, he did what he had to do and didn’t asked people’s opinion, he didn’t let other people judge his decisions, he was keeping the power to himself all the time, that’s how he went in history from all the fighters that left, the Fedrigo wasn’t straight enough to lead/manage them.

In Chute Box, Anderson won a few fights on a minor event in Curitiba, got a contract to fight in Shooto in Japan, after winning Shooto he got the opportunity to fight in Pride and after he lost to Daiju Takase in Pride, UFC offered a contract to him which was denied by Fedrigo for shady reasons (to keep with the shady deals he had with the Japanese, in UFC, Anderson would get paid directly in his name, but in Japan, Rudimar got the money and the fighters didn’t even know what they were signing, so in order to keep that strong rule over the money and fighters Rudimar denied the opportunity of Anderson’s life at the time), Anderson discovered that and got pissed… not long after, him and many other fighters started to question the way Rudimar Fedrigo did things, a considerable group of Chute Boxe fighters were unsatisfied and left. This is also on the news on the net, the names of the fighters who left, the reasons they left, etc.

Anderson’s path was rough, he had to bounce into minor events in Brazil. Differently from Vitor Belfort, who was on “Casa dos Artistas 2” (like a Big Brother for famous people in Brazil), where he was very popular, where he started dating Joana Prado (the Playboy record seller in Brazil, the hottest and most desired woman by far at the time). Belfort had everything. Money, famous, prestige, was in the big events, had the woman everybody was talking about and Anderson’ life was pure shit.

You see, where Vitor had a cradle, was trained by Carlson Gracie, got straight into big events, won it very young, and lost only to Randy, got mislead into going to Pride where he lost to Sakuraba (who at the time was rampaging over people) and then back to UFC, he lost to Chuck Liddell, whom at the time was also rampaging over people.

It was only right after winning the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship over Randy Couture that his sister got kidnapped, and from there on, everything went downhill for him, 5 losses in 7 fights. But on the other side, ironically this skyrocketed Vitor Belfort’s popularity again on the media, but this time even the housewives knew who he was and what Vale Tudo was.

It was only in 2007 that the drama of his sister’s disappearance started to get settled. What happened basically is that they don’t know for sure, one woman confessed, but in Brazil, women end up confessing crimes of a bunch of men to protect them and stuff, so it does not prove anything and nothing happened, the mystery didn’t get solved, but during this time or right after, they got an anonymous lead/information that felt very detailed/solid that his sister had been kidnapped, saw the faces of the kidnappers and end up getting killed, the actual story of how it all went is very sadistic and traumatic and it’s not the point of the thread, but knowing this was enough for him to get a closure on the episode, he could find peace, and that was important to him.

But in the meantime… Anderson’s life started to change as well, he was already kicking Rich Franklin’s ass for the second time, solidifying his position as the champion, and even before that we already started hearing him being hyped as the P4P best fighter in the world.

Anderson’s life changed drastically, in the U.S. he was a big name, but in Brazil, nobody knew him. It was all about Vitor, Vitor, Vitor. He was already tired of hearing about Vitor. When he trained with Vitor, he schooled him, he dominated him. And Vitor is a guy that usually outclasses people in training, Vitor is a beast in training, but when he sparred with Anderson, he was schooled. Vitor’s striking sucked in comparison, and he knew it right away. Anderson felt a mix of pitty for him, but also jealousy of him, because he was so much better than Vitor how come he wasn’t getting as much credit as Vitor? The whole Brazilian media was on Anderson’s mind since then. Every time you hear about Vitor Belfort, it’s like nobody on the media knows that there is a guy named Anderson Silva that is considered outside as the best pound for pound.

Anderson goes to the press conferences and get buttered/licked by everyone and then he goes to Brazil he has to watch Vitor Belfort being praised, receiving all the attention. People like Vitor, Vitor is popular in Brazil, like I said, he defined a generation, he performed oral sex on Joana Prado’s feet live on television for millions of people, every guy is jealous of him.

You have to understand Anderson’s point of view. In his mind, he is a better fighter than Vitor Belfort (and he is, there is no doubt about it), but Vitor Belfort is the guy that had everything. Anderson thinks Vitor does not deserve the praise/attention in the media, in fact, that pisses him off. How come “I am not the center?” “How come I am not in his place?”

At the time Vitor trained with Anderson, he still hadn’t found a closure for his sister’s problem and Anderson lets go of his initial negative feelings towards Belfort and empathized with him, because in his eyes Vitor was weakened. Anderson felt very good for being able to “help” a guy like Belfort, he felt good about Belfort’s shitty situation and felt like “its a wounded animal, let me help you”. But it wasn’t sincere. It was like someone rejoicing unconsciously because from his standpoint, the tables had turned.

Vitor on the other hand, didn’t even think about that, not even realized what was going on with Anderson and his point of view. Vitor kept to himself, Vitor didn’t bow down to Anderson’s helping hand. Its not that he tried to look tough either. It’s just that Vitor didn’t give a shit about Anderson from the beginning. Vitor never acknowledged Anderson like Anderson wanted too. This frustrated Anderson.

Vitor was always a protagonist kind of guy, he is alone, leader of himself, no allegiance to no one, alpha male kind of thing. Not because he tries to be like that to impress other people, its just that in his eyes/point of view, he simply KNOWS of his potential. He KNOWS what he can do, how superior he is. Of course he respects Anderson, but it’s in a formal way. “Yeah, he is very good”, but it’s not like he bows down in a way that puts him in an inferior position. “This guy is very good, but if he stands in my way he is going to get it”.

Vitor didn’t actually betray Anderson. Anderson never did anything for Vitor. Vitor never acknowledged him. Vitor treated him just like another dude. Whenever Vitor got the media spotlight, he would always keep it for himself, not the kind of guy who would go out of his way to praise other people like Anderson would praise Minotauro.

Everywhere Vitor goes, he goes to improve himself. He doesn’t go to help other people. If other people get helped, good, but he doesn’t feel like he owns them more than what he actually gives them by his presence at the time they trained. This is hard for a lot of people to understand in Brazil. Vitor takes it in an informal “I’m a professional” way. Whereas other people want more than that.

At this point you have to understand Anderson’s point of view. He was already a top fighter in 2003, he already knew inside himself of his potential. He had 3 years of Chute Box top training/sparring and some could say he was in his peak since then.

At this point, after not being able to stand Rudimar, he sees himself forced to leave and start over, ending up finding events to fight in the ass of the world in Brazil, felt very depressed, felt like quitting. It was at the point of his life that a guy like Nogueira comes and save the day.

Nogueira helped Anderson, and many many other fighters and he still does it. He gave Anderson his hand, he took him under his wing, he taught him Jiu Jitsu straight from the source (Nogueira is like 3rd/4th generation from Brazilian Top Team). The Jiu Jitsu he had learned in Chute Boxe couldn’t compare. Anderson’s striking was already top notch, and he started to build up a ground game to go with it. At this point Nogueira wasn’t in Brazilian Top Team and Anderson wasn’t in Chute Boxe, so one could say it was their “marriage” that started to melt the rivalries (despite Anderson having fought Luis Azeredo in 2001).

Basically, you have to understand the history, the ups and downs, how everything went, what was their situation at the time.

Vitor has nothing against Anderson, he doesn’t care about Anderson. Where Anderson feels strongly against Vitor, it has nothing to do with “betrayal” from the time they trained together. It’s only in Anderson’s view that just training a few times together would hinder a fight. At a certain point, when Anderson found himself, and Vitor was there in the shit, that Anderson felt superior thus he could somehow accept and consider Vitor a pet or something. Because everything was right in his life, he thinks that that status quo should remain, like him being the champion of his weight class and his happy friends supporting him in the middle.

So when Belfort gets out of the shit, near 2007, gets momentum and finally reaches his door, he feels like “How dare you to challenge me?” Vitor nomad/protagonist/professional way of being clashes with Anderson “me and my boys are gonna rule this” mentality. Vitor was never his boy. “Vitor was never my friend”. It means Vitor never aknowledged/bowed down to him even when Vitor was in the shit and he was on the top.

But that’s only Anderson’s way of seeing things. Vitor being the number one in Brazilian media, while Anderson despite being praised left and right as the P4P king was being completely overshadowed by Belfort (Anderson popularity/appearances on media started to increase here since his last 2-3 fights, but still nowhere near Belfort). So to Anderson, another thing that pisses him off, is knowing that he is the better fighter than Vitor, yet he does not get the credit he thinks he deserves in comparison with Vitor.

Another thing relates to how Vitor was always in the spotlight and had the easy road, good family, money, in any way you can evaluate Vitor, the guy had everything and Anderson is the type of person that does get jealous. Deep inside Anderson he knows where he came from, what he had to do to get where he is, and he didn’t have anything Vitor had. To Anderson, he is more deserving. He can’t stand Vitor having all those things, the media praise and still coming to CHALLENGE HIM, trying to take his glory, etc.

Anderson is like “I’m going to kill you. I’m going to put you in your place. I’m going to show the world who is the one who deserves the praise.” It’s the opportunity of his life, because Vitor Belfort brings to the table the glory/media in Brazil. If Anderson defeats Vitor, he will have to be seen as the superior fighter, he will have to get the edge, top attention. Something he still does not have. Something he wants badly. And losing to Belfort will be worse than losing to anybody else, because Belfort is everything he resents from other people, based on the things he didn’t have, the life he lead, his difficulties, etc. Vitor, on the other hand is completely oblivious of Anderson’s feelings. He is like “What is Anderson’s problem, he seems so angry… weird.. I dont get it.”

Of course Anderson won’t say these things openly to the media. What he truly feels like is what I just said. He tries hard to be “cool” (like Belfort), trying to downplay the importance of this fight to himself, trying to make it look like it was just another fight. He creates a mask, to hide his hideous emotions/feelings, to hide that he is insecure. To try not to look pathetic, ridiculous, with low motivations, but inside, he just is like that. He will probably devastate Vitor like you have never seen before. It’s like “payback time motherfucker”. If he can embarrass and humiliate Belfort worse than he did to Maia, he will. It’s one of these fights that only if Anderson wins, he will be able to get over Belfort (because he is again in a position of superiority) and will still role play hard that “it’s just another fight and he just did his job and try to give a show to the fans”. But deep inside he will be grinning, because he was victorious at last.

I’m just a dude following MMA on the internet that couldn’t stand seeing people so clueless about what was going on. This fight has major motivations and historic proportions, most of you Americans, or people who are not following MMA for long, and had no access to the info only Brazilians have from forums (and posts from people who train, and stuff that don’t get on the net), or people who have no ability to logically correlate facts or understand behaviours and psychology. That’s why I’m giving this information, because knowing this will help you savour the fight and analyze the apparently unexplainable behaviour of Anderson/Vitor. But make no mistake, it’s very personal, it’s not just another fight.

I found that to be a very interesting read and I tend to believe it because I have seen many posts online in certain forums and on YouTube saying how they hope Anderson destroys this playboy, this white playboy and other race related things, I was like what the fuck why are Brazilians pointing out race? Like I said though interesting nevertheless.

-Dan Kai Wah from