Anderson Silva went jogging through the streets of Curitiba; just a morning run, nothing outlandish. Perhaps it was a bit of a publicity stunt. After all, he's got fans to please. However on this particular morning, one man among the many he passed recognized him and was not at all pleased to see him. That man was José Landi-Jons, known to the MMA world as Pelé. He described the incident to Portal do Vale Tudo.
"I saw him running so I decided to stop (my car) and call him out to fight. He said he would, but then a car appeared filled with security men telling us there would be no fight. Anderson started to yell at me calling me a scum. I cussed him out too and told him that he was a champion outside but that in Curitiba he was nothing. He has always challenged me, I have accepted his challenges and beat him twice, and now I’m the one who’s challenging him. I wish him a long reign as UFC champion, which gives us people from Curitiba much pride, but I think we owe this to Curitiba: Anderson vs Pele part three. Who knows, perhaps in a UFC in Curitiba?" (translation via BE reader Orcus)
In 2012 Anderson released his self titled autobiography and while written entirely in Portuguese, several passages have made the jump to English, and for almost entirely the wrong reasons. The book included an incident in which Anderson believed that Pelé had gone out of his way to drench Silva and his daughter as they walked along the sidewalk. Pelé claims that there is absolutely no truth in the story, and made his displeasure public with this memorable video rant:
Considering Pelé's anger, Anderson has plenty of reasons to be wary of his intentions. It's been almost a year since that video was released and emotions are still running raw. But, in the days following the incident Pelé has tried to put a more professional spin on his actions.
"I only wanted to ask him about what he put into the book. I feel outraged because everything he said has blackened my name", Pele told GLOBO Esporte.
"I didn’t want a streetfight, I only want to know why he wrote what he did. I beat him in 1995. And I’m still fighting, but in a lower stage. I mean, I’m fighting in the [equivalent of the] second division of Brasileirão (Brazilian soccer major league).
"But a classic is a classic. I want to fight him here at a UFC event in Curitiba. I’m not willing to promote a street fight. I only wanted to ask on what he wrote on the book." (via Fighters Only)
Pelé is 4-1 in the last four years and 27-15 overall, with victories over Alexander Shlemenko, Matt Hughes, and Pat Miletich. He also holds two victories over Anderson in Muay Thai competition (in which Anderson claims he was "robbed") and is credited as one of the principal trailblazers of Chute Boxe's glory days. And while there is virtually no chance of this fight happening, that hasn't stopped Pelé from continuing to pursue it publicly. When contacted by Fighters Only, he reiterated his desire for the fight as his opportunity to set the record straight.
"I want to fight him badly. F--k it, let’s see what happens. Maybe something comes up. I will make him swallow what he said about me. He will have to stand up for it."
Laughing he added, "If he beats me, he can say what he wants and I will have to listen to things I don’t want to. All I want is a fight, that’s it. But I wouldn’t want it [on the street] because it would make nothing but f--king problems."