Dana White: UFC 148's Anderson Silva could be a 'deaf mute' and fans would still pay to see him fight

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 30: Mixed martial artist Anderson Silva arrives at the Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards 2011 at the Palms Casino Resort November 30, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion Anderson Silva is the consensus best mixed marital artist (MMA) on the planet today.

You would be hard pressed to find anyone to disagree with those sentiments based on the fact that his record and past performances over the last six years have been incomparable. With 15 consecutive victories, including nine title defenses, Silva's stat line more than speaks for itself.

We all know he is a great fighter, but just how big of "star" is he?

Many often equate ones star value not according to the amount of victories he/she has, but in the mass appeal he/she has to the mainstream world. The Brazilian has already landed deals with fast food conglomerate Burger King and the most recognizable shoe brand in the world in Nike.

But is that enough? Can he do better?

Some seem to think if Silva spoke English more often, his star power would go through the roof and could even reach the potential of boxing mega-stars such as Manny Paquiao and Floyd Mayweather down the line.

Speaking at yesterday's (June 25, 2012) UFC 148 conference call, UFC President Dana White stated that Anderson is already a huge star despite the fact the he doesn't speak much English. The outspoken fight promoter also went on to say that people are paying to see him fight, not give speeches:

"If you look at our UFC, which is now 11 years old, Anderson Silva is a very big star. This is the fight that people care about and want to see all over the world and he is known now. I mean, very few people would dispute, not only is he the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the world, but probably the best mixed martial artist ever. When we talk about those guys becoming huge stars, dude, you haven't been to Brazil lately, I mean, this guy is a huge superstar in his home country and he is a huge superstar here. People want to see him fight and people want to see him fight Chael all over the world. When you talk about the Mayweather-Pacquiao, you think about the numbers those guys do on pay-per-view...they fight every other year or year-and-a half. It's not the same, it's not the same sport and I would have to disagree with you, I think he is a big star."

When asked if Silva's lack of speaking English in press conferences or interviews hinders his full potential of being a full crossover star, White had this to say:

"Listen, does the guy have to work really hard and try to speak English? People are not showing up to hear this guy give speeches, you know? They are not showing up to hear him. You are showing up to watch what this guy does inside the Octagon. And when he gets in there, he's an artist. I mean, this guy does what no other mixed martial artist is able to do. He is able to do things that other guys can't. If you don't want to like or follow Anderson Silva because he doesn't speak English, I totally don't get it. You show up to watch him fight. He can be a deaf fucking mute for Christ's sakes, it doesn't matter. What he does what gets inside the Octagon is amazing and that is what your showing up for or paying to see."

If you have any doubt as to just how big of a star "The Spider" is, Burger Kings is reportedly going to pay the Brazilian a whopping $500,000 just to have its logo placed on his shorts when he steps into the Octagon to face Chael Sonnen at UFC 148 on July 7, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

That kind of coin sure can buy a lot of Whoppers.

Fight purses aside, can Silva reach the superstar levels of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao? Is his lack of English speaking hindering his full potential of being a mega-star? Or, as White suggests, has he already reached superstar status?

Opinions, please.

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