M-1’s LHW Champ: “Byrd is trying to generate publicity for himself…”

There’s no question that light heavyweight contender Byron Byrd has been extremely vocal since hearing news that current champ Vyacheslav ‘Slava’ Vasilevsky is considering moving down a weight class. The pair have been bantering back-and-forth ever since Vasilevsky beat Thomas Narkun and it seems the champ has had enough.

“I’m not going to waste any more of my time and energy worrying about what another fighter thinks. It’s just not necessary,” said Vasilevsky in a response to Byrd’s last interview. “I can see why Byron is frustrated but he let himself get overcome with emotion. If I were to lose my self control, I’d probably have done the same thing but I’m in total control unlike my American colleague.

When asked to confirm whether or not he’ll be transitioning to middleweight, the champ was clear that the move is still under consideration. “Changing a weight class is a serious decision and shouldn’t be made based on emotion. Anything Byron has to say won’t affect my course of action. With all due respect, this is a decision based on what provides me the greatest opportunity to develop and grow in the sport. At the moment, my decision to transition to middleweight is not final. It will be determined while I make some weight adjustments and test my speed and skills. If it ends up that I stay at light heavyweight, there is no doubt I’ll be happy to meet Byron in the ring. I have my own desire to defend the belt and beat Byrd.”

Clearly the saga between the pair seems to be driven by Byrd’s bravado and motivation for his title fight after being passed over in favor of Narkun at M-1 Challenge XXII’s inaugural championship bout. Quoted in his last interview, Byrd didn’t hold back on his position. “I thought my Selections tournament performances were worthy of meeting Vasilevsky before Narkun but those decisions aren’t up to me. But my time is fast approaching.”

As ‘Slava’ continued to field questions, his position on the squabbles with Byrd become increasingly clear. “It’s not in my persona to be the bad guy. If it happens that we meet and I win our fight, so be it but his talking right now is just ‘talk’. Byrd will continue to talk to create more attention for himself and the fans should recognize what he’s doing. He can be the ‘villain’ in this charade to better his popularity and present the picture that he’s doing everything right. I’ll focus on training and preparing for my next fight

The anticipated title defense already has fans talking and is expected to take place early in 2011.

About William Smith

After watching the first Ultimate Fighting Championship I became instantly hooked. I've been a huge fan of the sport of MMA ever since. Haven't missed a UFC event & thanks to fight pass I've witnessed some of the all time greatest fighter & athletes the sport through Pride, Strikeforce, WEC, Glory, Pacrase, EliteXC.............. I resently joined MMA-paradise.com & will use this site to continue to bring the latest news from the world of MMA to all our loyal followers.