We all know that Anderson Silva is a big draw, he's obviously headlined many cards and had some really good PPV numbers but he's never drawn what you'd expect the GOAT (in mine, and many others opinion) to draw. Brock Lesnar and GSP massively outdrew him in numbers yet, Lesnar had nowhere near the talent, and (arguably) GSP wasn't nearly as exciting. So why didn't fans flock towards him and just throw their money down to watch an unbelievably talented fighter like Silva? I'm going to list the major factors that may have hindered him, with a little discussion following.
1. He isn't white
I hate this idea and find it insulting that racism would be a factor in today's culture, but some people have brought up the point. It is true that Lesnar and GSP were the biggest draws and they were both white, but I don't think that proves a correlation (at least I hope not). We've seen in MMA, and many sports, that non-white athletes are as loved as any white athletes (Rampage, Ali, Jordan, etc...) so I don't believe this is a factor, but unfortunately it may be to some.
2. He doesn't speak English (very well)
This point I believe is a factor. Speaking to someone is one of the greatest ways to become closer to another person and understand them. You can get a real sense of who a person is even just by their choice of words or phrases. Having to listen to an interpreter translate Silva's words all the time creates a sort of barrier between him and the fans. It's a wall that prevents a fuller appreciation of who Silva is. Also, the fact is that Silva can speak English(although not very well) but yet you rarely see him attempt to in conferences or interviews. Whether this is because he's embarrassed of his English, It's easier with a interpreter, or he just doesn't want to try is unclear, but it would go a long way to connect with the fans. Look at GSP, his English was never great but he tried his best to speak to the fans and there was a charm to his French accented interviews.
3. His trilogy of terrible fights
His fights with Cote, Leites, and Maia were maddening. Especially after his fight with Maia, even Dana White said that "if he ever fights like that again he'll be cut"(although I doubt that was actually true). They were an embarrassment to MMA fans an embarrassment to ZUFFA and their new part owner Flash entertainment, and a waste of money which left a real bad taste in the mouth of fans afterwards. They also hinted at a pretentiousness or arrogantness on the part of Silva who didn't have enough respect for anyone to take the fights seriously and this definitely hurt his stock. But afterwards he seemed to bounce back and start delivering exciting fights again so only really the hardcore fans probably would have seen or still held those fights against him. To the casual fans Silva would seem a walking highlight reel, so I don't know how much those fights truly hurt him in PPV buys. Also, elephant in the room, his clowning in the fight with Weidman seemed a return to his not taking fights seriously(and he paid for it big time) but even then, it was a good fight and the clowning has been the foundation for a huge rematch, so in the long run it worked out(at least financially).
4. His focus on Brazil
I get it, Silva loves Brazil and so do apparently all Brazilians to an almost unhealthy degree. Great for Brazil, not so great for worldwide fans. The problem with being so wrapped up in your nationality is that it tends to exclude others who aren't from where your from (even if only indirectly). Part of what makes the UFC so great is that it can get the best fighters in the world to compete and we hopefully focus much more on the individual's talents than on their country of origin. So Silva should be proud of where he's from but remember that he has a large number of fans not from Brazil who would like more of a shout out.
5. His (perceived) personality
On the surface Silva seems like a nice, quiet, humbled guy who likes to joke around, but some instances have lead to seeing this as somewhat of a facade. I've already talked about his disrespect in his terrible fights but other instances have come up . Like his stare down with Sonnen where he shoulder checked Sonnen in the face. Or his stare down with Belfort and his little mask show. He also has a history of being injured when contract negotiations for a fight come up, or when a fight is scheduled with someone he's not terribly interested in fighting. Not that there's any proof of his faking his injuries, but it's all in the perception. There also were some allegations of Anderson greasing before some fights. Google "Anderson greasing" and you'll find some hard to ignore Gifs and videos.
6. His aura of invincibility
Of course this is gone now that we've seen him knocked out, but before that Silva did seem almost invincible. What made his first fight with Sonnen so memorable was that even though Sonnen lost, no one thought Sonnen even had a chance with Silva. He was just too good, he even destroyed Sonnen in the rematch. And to me this was the main reason I didn't get as excited about a Silva fight as I should have. Why pay for a main event when you know Silva's just going to destroy his opponent, there was hardly any drama involved. Which goes back to his upcoming fight, now we know he is human and can be beaten. That's why his fight with Weidman is so interesting, and will probably do some major numbers in the PPV buys.
These are the biggest reasons I could come up with but maybe there are others as well, or maybe it's just a case of not "clicking" with the fans like Jon Jones (who's another fighter I could write an article on) or not having that 'X' factor that some people just seem to have. Whatever the reason, it's undeniable that Anderson Silva is the greatest striker in MMA history and arguably the greatest fighter as well. And it just goes to show that skill does not always equal popularity.
Do you have any more reasons for Silva not being a huge draw, or do you think that I'm wrong, and he is a major draw?