Wanderlei Silva reminded everyone why he’s a legend in combat sports on Saturday when he defeated former Strikeforce middleweight titleholder Cung Le by technical knockout at UFC 139 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. While logging an impressive performance, some are suggesting Silva should hang up his gloves, including UFC president Dana White.
Even in decisive victory, White expressed his opinion that Silva is one fight away from being persuaded into retirement.
“In my opinion, I’m no doctor, but when it gets to a point where you start getting knocked out on a regular basis; I don’t want to see that anymore. I don’t want to see it,“ said White following the UFC 139 event.
“Wanderlei is a warrior. He’s been around forever. People love him and I love him. He’s been great to us and to the sport. I’m not going to have that stuff happen,” added the UFC president. “I’m not doing that. I don’t want to see these guys stick around past their prime.”
Yes, it is true. The former Pride champion known as the “Axe Murderer” is no longer in his prime, but he’s still a fan favorite and competitive. He’s built a career on his aggressive style and highlight reel finishes, and while his best fighting days may be behind him, he’s still providing fans with clips to add to his highlight video.
White isn’t concerned whether or not Silva still puts spectators in the seats. He’s concerned for Silva’s well-being, even after a UFC 139 Fight of the Night performance.
“I’ve been very open and honest about it. He looked good tonight,” stated White about Silva’s performance.
“Wanderlei Silva is a guy whom we in this company respect and care about very much. He is a very good person. He’s been a great asset to us,” said White during the UFC 139 post-fight press conference. “I said it about Chuck Liddell and I’ll say it about Wanderlei Silva too.
“When guys start getting consecutive knockouts and you keep them in there fighting… Can we keep Wanderlei Silva rolling and keep him fighting? Of course we can, but I don’t want to make one dollar of that kind of money. I want to make sure that Wanderlei Silva is healthy,” explained White.
“He’s got a great business in Las Vegas. He’s got a gym and a school. We’ve seen it in boxing and I just saying, I don’t care what anybody says or what anybody thinks, we’re not going to see it here in the UFC. When it is time, I’ll sit down with these guys and we’ll talk about options and we’ll go from there.
“We’re not the type of promoters that say, ‘alright Wanderlei, it’s over. See you later and good luck to you.’ Wanderlei Silva has been a very good guy to all of us in this company. We respect him, we care about him, and we don’t want to see him stick around inside the Octagon too long. That’s why I talk about guys hanging it up when I think it’s time.”
Silva knows where he stands with the UFC organization and its president.
“I know there’s no more space for fouls. We’re fighting in the best events in the world. I know the responsibility to be here. They only have the space for the best guys in the world over here, you know. There’s no more space for fouls. I know that,” said Silva at the press conference following the event.