At the crossroads of sports and entertainment sits a man, comfortable in the knowledge that he's safe in his position.
He's exactly the type of fighter fans love to love, a throwback to the old school, a talented yet deeply flawed individual who has all the right misgivings to make him so endearing.
Honestly, why wouldn't you cheer for Wanderlei Silva?
That's what he feeds off, the bright lights and big crowds he grew accustomed to in Japan while he was the king of the mountain in Pride. He spilled blood in those rings, all the while sending dozens of challengers to the hospital after a short time exchanging punches with him.
When he brought his voracious style to the States, the fans followed in droves. Despite his lack of success and seemingly grim future, he continues to receive the loudest ovation whenever he enters the room.
That's why he has job security. Because he hears that and it drives him to give the world what they want to see, to keep the fans coming back for more.
"You have a lot of kind of fighters. You have fighters that are safe. Some open their game. My real boss is my fans," Silva told Josh Gross of ESPN. "My fans put me there. If my fans don't want me, Dana [White] won't put me there. The boss is the fans. And the fans like to watch me, I'll have a job forever. I'm not afraid to lose. No, I like to go in there and do what I want to do. For me, I like the show. Of course I fight to win, but I like the show. If I make my fans happy, I'm happy."
Indeed, Silva has been electrifying fans since all the way back in Nov. 1996, when he debuted as a professional against Dilson Filho and won by knockout in the very first round.
It was the first of many.
However, even in defeat, the Brazilian manages to bring the world to its collective feet. He's just 2-5 in his last seven bouts but who will ever forget the war he waged against Chuck Liddell back in Dec. 2007?
Or the three-round classic he put on opposite Rich Franklin in the first ever Zuffa show held in Germany in June 2009?
His three knockout losses during that span are all just as memorable. He was felled by a Mirko "Cro Cop" head kick, a trademark "H-bomb" from Dan Henderson, and a left hook from hell from Quinton Jackson.
All completely unforgettable.
Sure, Silva is 34-years-old now and has seen better days. You don't go through 45 wars without accruing a few battle scars along the way.
But he sees the glass as half-full. "The Axe Murderer" hasn't been inside the cage since his middleweight debut in Australia in Feb. 2010, a decision victory over Michael Bisping, who may or may not be on the cusp of a title shot of his own.
That's something to hang his hat on and what's to say his old bones don't have a few knockouts left in them? What if he goes out this Saturday night (July 2, 2011) at UFC 132 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and sends Chris Leben down Queer Street?
The truth? The answer doesn't really matter.
That's because Wanderlei Silva will always have a job because Wanderlei Silva always gives fans exactly what they want to see.
Are you not entertained?