Anderson Silva has a unique perspective on how the UFC does business, especially now that he’s on the outside looking in.
It’s been almost two years since “The Spider” parted ways with the promotion that he called home from 2006-2020, and at the moment, he’s looking ahead to a much-talked about boxing match against YouTube star Jake Paul that takes place Oct. 29 in Glendale, Ariz.
On Wednesday’s The MMA Hour , Silva discussed Paul’s feud with Dana White regarding fighter pay. He then offered his views on the complex relationship between UFC and fighters.
” “It’s only two things,” Silva stated. “Jake and his brother [Logan] tried to bring attention to something very important. You have your boss, your team and your UFC business. What happens when people go to UFC and start talking about, ‘I don’t make money,’ and this and that — you have a chance to sign or not sign the contract. Your manager, your lawyer, and your team need to take care of this part of business, because you don’t have time to focus on that. You need to take care because you represent your company. To work in the UFC, you have to sign a contract. You put your whole body into crazy things. It is your company. In UFC, you put in the business and put the whole thing for your name, to make the big show.
“In this case, I don’t think UFC is wrong or Dana is wrong. Dana tried to do your job and the UFC [gives you] a job. Problem is that fighters sign contracts when they get inside. Once you have signed the contract, there is no way to change it.
” In my opinion, the UFC could pay fighters more. A few fighters who do something really, truly extraordinary inside UFC will make it stronger and more powerful. Get more [respect] to promote the brand. But everything is about, talk to your manager, have a good thing behind you to protect you, so you don’t sign something you don’t like in the future. A lot of very talented fighters sign something very crazy because the manager doesn’t take care of the fighters. It is all about money and numbers, which is the problem
Silva and 47, have repeatedly stressed the importance fighters building their following through the UFC platform. They also pointed to the Paul brothers to show how they can improve their value. Logan and Jake Paul both have turned their social media successes into combat sports careers. Logan has gone eight rounds in MMA with Floyd Mayweather, while Jake defeated Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley. Logan also signed on to the WWE as one of its most popular attractions.
During his 14-year UFC run, Silva became one of the promotion’s most dominant champions, a fan-favorite fighter, and a consistent pay-per-view draw. Although he takes offense at fighters complaining publicly about their contracts, he also acknowledged that White’s business approach has not been a good fit for him.
“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 said. “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’s talk about fighting is [when he] Dana has never fought MMA. My problem is when Dana talks about, “You can’t win that fight, don’t lose that,” which I find to be a problem. 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 is not a large, established company. People think they did something wrong. You’re inside or not. Signing or not signing is up to you. However, once you have signed, your agreement with me becomes binding. 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. It doesn’t matter if I say “Can I do this?” or ask Dana permission
Silva has already competed in boxing twice since his last UFC fight, defeating former WBC champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in June 2021 and then knocking out fellow UFC legend Tito Ortiz inside of a round three months later.
If other fighters wish to enjoy the same opportunity, he recommends that they have the right team in order to better understand the business. Change is not likely to be brought about by the UFC.
“Dana was Dana,” Silva stated. “He represents the UFC, he represents the UFC brand. Dana is the brand’s representative, and it is not the fighters. Dana is a great person, and I won’t say anything negative about her. It’s who is representing the brand? Dana White is the brand’s representative, not fighters. Amazing because you can see everyone waiting for Dana White to arrive. Why? It’s Dana White, the UFC branding. [He does] a good job. A lot of people talk bad, a lot of people talk a lot of things about Dana, but in my opinion Dana does his best job, continuing to be successful inside the sport.”
“I feel sad because, of course the UFC can pay the fighters more, especially the heavyweight guys and a couple of fighters,” Silva added later. “I think the UFC needs to understand that better because the world has changed and the new generation starts to think about this. “Why fight in the UFC?” I go there to become famous and the guys don’t pay me good money for putting my life in danger. “I lost a few fights, because I’m human. The guy’s going out to kick me out. I lost all my possessions. And that’s what the new generation thought.” People need to realize that numbers are the only way out of this game. No matter what sport it is, whether it be in UFC or boxing, the number one thing that matters is numbers. You make results, you’ll be successful. If you don’t produce good results, then you are out .”