Mixed martial arts veteran and Pride legend Wanderlei Silva once claimed that he was “treated like a slave” by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Following his confrontational history with UFC President Dana White, Silva has now come forward with a few words.
Taking to social media back in 2015, Wanderlei Silva revealed that he wanted to be released from his UFC contract. Check out a translation of the message below:
“You know that I’ve been chased, discriminated, treated like a slave by this promotion. They don’t want to release me from the contract, so I can’t work anymore, which is my right of not wanting to work for them anymore, and I can’t work anywhere else. I come here asking the UFC to release me from this slavery system. You work for them or don’t work anywhere else. Some good soul, please translate this and send to Dana. I know I will find the best lawyers to help me with that.”
Now a fighter under the Bellator MMA promotion, Wanderlei Silva has come forward with a few words on his previous confrontations with the UFC and with Dana White. Check it out below:
“I had some misunderstandings with my former boss and that was something great that I learned. Lessons from Wanderlei: Don’t fight with your boss, it’s not worth it. In reality, the weak side always get screwed. Not that you always get screwed, but the boss does the events and he’s right, it’s his business and he has to put whoever he wants to fight. But it’s complicated when you have the sport in your hands and have to follow certain rules, and those are the rules I wanted them to follow at the time.
“We tried to create a fighters’ union and that didn’t please them because they negotiate the purse money directly with the fighter or his manager. Many times they use a win or a loss to negotiate. There are two guys at the same level, both making 20, and one of them will go to 50, 70. They put them to fight, and the other one gets lost. I think money could be better distributed in MMA. If an athlete makes more, he can prepare better, have a better life, and help the sport grow. Athletes should be paid better in order for us to get to the next level.
“That’s another thing I learned: When two lions collide, it’s a fight. I met the guy, Dana White, and we collided. He’s a lion, and so am I. I hold no grudges toward him now, he was a great boss, I made a lot of money there, did good fights. Americans are different than Brazilians. Brazilians sometimes expect the boss to take feelings into consideration: ‘he’s a friend,’ but that doesn’t exist.
“What matters is how many views you can get, how much promotion do you bring. So, for young fighters, I say promote your fights well. I’m not saying that promoting is going out there talking a bunch of crap, but portray yourself in a successful way, look your opponent in the eye and be serious. I’m not in favor of shaking hands. There’s respect? Yes, but you and your opponent don’t have to lick each other. It’s your opponent, you have to be serious.
“And it’s good to act like a warrior, a samurai, with the sword ready, going there to kill or be killed. Hugging and kissing each other, taking selfies, that doesn’t exist. It’s proven that rivalries sell fights. A healthy rivalry, man to man, is always welcome. We wanna see great fights. Lots of fighters, lots of events, but few classics.
“There’s an opportunity for you, who’s ready, to make a name for yourself. A fighter had to make 20 fights to break through in the past. Now, three or four good fights and you’re a star already. You see what’s happening with ‘Borrachinha.’ Those four fights already changed his life. That’s the tip. There’s more opportunity, but you have to act professionally to bring all the views we can.