Just days before the Nevada Athletic Commission handed him a lifetime ban for evading a random drug test, Wanderlei Silva announced his retirement from combat sports via a video on YouTube. In the midst of his retirement announcement, he trashed his now-former employers, the UFC, saying they take advantage of fighters, overworking them and keeping all the money for themselves, not sharing any of the wealth with the athletes.
“I feel that I don’t have a dignified stage where the athletes are respected. They are wearing down the athletes; they make them fight under any circumstances and any conditions,” said Silva. “They use us to make rivers of money. They don’t respect the athletes, they don’t take care of the athletes, and they don’t pay the athletes.
“Enough is enough. They don’t respect us as athletes. They don’t respect us at all.”
UFC president Dana White begs to differ.
In an interview with Brazilian media outlet Combate following Friday’s UFC 178 weigh-ins, White said that Silva was paid nearly $10 million during his most recent UFC tenure.
“Wanderlei Silva fought six times in the last five years. If overwork is to fight once a year, so I do not know what to tell you,” said White (via Google Translate). “You know how much money Wanderlei won since he started fighting in the UFC? He earned $9.7 million. He says everyone is getting rich except the fighters; then what does he consider rich?”