Anderson Silva is free from Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) shackles and isn’t afraid to express it.
For 14 years, Silva was one of the most notable names on UFC’s roster, working under the promotion’s president, Dana White. The two had always gotten along and respect is still there at present ... but “The Spider” does have one specific issue with his former employer.
“It’s strange for me, because everybody signs and when inside they start talking, ‘You guys don’t pay me correct,’ and this and that,” Silva told The MMA Hour. “I never, in my life, talked about how much the UFC paid me because I fight a lot and that’s my problem with Dana — it’s not a problem, it’s a business, Anderson Silva is a company going inside the UFC and signing the contract. It’s two companies making business together.
“My problem with Dana is [when he] talks about fights because Dana has never fought MMA in his life,” he continued. “That’s my problem, when he talks about, ‘You can’t do that, can’t do that, you don’t fight correctly.’ No, no, no, that’s my only problem with Dana. I think Dana is a good person. Everybody talks about Dana, ‘He’s not good, blah blah blah.’ He’s a good person, but he’s a businessman. UFC doesn’t get to this point now as a big, big company in the world if the people think, ‘I did something, I’m sorry fighters, I did something incorrect.’ No, the company grew up because of hustlers doing something and that’s the game. You’re inside or not. You can sign or not sign, you can go anywhere, but when you sign, you make the deal with my company. You can’t say nothing because why did you sign? You signed. You have a contract. ‘Oh no, let me out of the contract.’ You signed the contract, you’ve seen the rules of the contract, why are you talking about it now? And I’m so lucky because I’m not in the UFC anymore and I have my own journey right now. I don’t need to say, ‘Can I do that?’ I don’t need to ask permission from the UFC or from Dana for absolutely nothing anymore.”
When it comes to fighters' attempts at exploring other options while restricted by contract agreements, Silva’s fellow legend, Georges St-Pierre, is perhaps the most notable victim in recent years. “Rush’s” plans to return in an ultra-serious manner are behind him, but for a charity boxing match opposite Oscar De La Hoya, UFC and White made sure it didn’t come to fruition.
Since departing UFC in Oct. 2020 after a fourth round technical knockout loss to Uriah Hall (watch highlights), Silva has also left mixed martial arts (MMA) in the rear-view mirror (for now). On Oct. 29, 2022, in Phoenix, Arizona, Silva steps into the boxing ring for a match against YouTube sensation, Jake Paul.