"The Spider," 38, recently made headlines after signing an unprecedented 10-fight contract extension with the world's leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion ahead of his UFC 162 showdown with Chris Weidman earlier this year. Silva went on to lose the match, as well as his coveted 185-pound belt, via second round knockout, compelling many fight fans to ponder whether or not the legendary Brazilian had enough gas in the tank to fulfill such an ambitious obligation.
Even before the shocking loss, Silva was unsure, too, while his manager, Ed Soares, is confident his client will see it through to the end.
And perhaps we now know the reason thanks to UFC President Dana White, who revealed earlier this afternoon at UFC 168 "World Tour" press conference in Las Vegas, Nevada (watch full replay here), that Silva's deal is indeed unprecedented, with money-laden incentives that have the potential to make him a very rich man before he hits 40.
White explains (via FightHubTV.com):
"It's like a Floyd Mayweather Jr. contract for our sport. It would be tough for him to [walk away from the money]. Like he said here to the fans, 'You don't realize what you have until you lose it and now I want to get it back.' I think the pressure that came with the belt for Anderson was never having lost in UFC. He never lost, he was on this crazy ride. Maybe that was the pressure, but there is nothing better in UFC than being the champion. It's the best. There is, obviously, different money for title fights and if you're the champion. There is different money for that. The glory and all the shit that goes along with it it great, but so, too, is the money. The money doesn't hurt, either."
Silva earned a very handsome $600,000 payday for the loss to "All American," his first-ever inside the Octagon, and likely earned much more once sponsorships, pay-per-view (PPV) points, discretionary bonuses and other undisclosed amounts were factored into his purse.
That's a far cry from the guaranteed $41 million that Mayweather Jr. earned (see check pic here) for his recent rout of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, which could allegedly top $100 million once the final record-setting boxing blockbuster receipts are tallied. But, again, White is merely using "Money" as an example, the high-water mark in that combat sport, while Silva stands to make the equivalent, relatively, in MMA if he can continue to kick ass.
He'll get that opportunity at UFC 168 on Dec. 28, 2013, when he gets his Weidman rematch at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It's an event that White thinks will be UFC's "biggest" to date, and with a win, likely Silva's biggest payday yet.
Until the trilogy, of course, if it happens.