by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The news came late last week that former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia was leaving the organization he’s called home for the majority of the last six years. He was granted his release and immediately signed with Adrenaline MMA, the promotion formerly known as M-1 Global.
“We’ve been approached for a while about different organizations and stuff like that, and we were with the UFC,” Sylvia said on MMAWeekly Radio on Monday night. “Now, you know I had one fight left and just some great offers are coming in, and Monte’s like ‘hey, let me talk to Dana and see if maybe they’ll release you and see if we can go out there for a year or two and make some really good money.’
“So the UFC knew the offer and they said they would allow me to be released and that’s what they did. And Monte (Cox) obviously took the advantage that he has and signed me as soon as he could.”
Cox, who also serves as Sylvia’s manager, heads Adrenaline as its president and CEO. He negotiated the release from the UFC and the subsequent signing of his fighter to the new organization.
Sylvia stressed that while he’s looking forward to the new opportunities that await him, he in no way left the UFC on bad terms.
“We left on a good relationship, willing and knowing that we’re coming back in a year or two to the UFC if everything goes right,” he stated.
“I’ve come to a crossroads in my career where I’ve fought all the best guys in the UFC. There’s a handful of guys outside the UFC that I really want to fight and I don’t think the UFC’s going to get some of them. Some of them are a little too high priced for the UFC to get. So I just think this is the best avenue for me right now.”
With multiple promotions in the United States including EliteXC, Strikeforce, the as yet unannounced Affliction/Golden Boy Promotion team and several more in Japan, Sylvia said he intends on fighting “six or seven” times next year.
His contract with Adrenaline is non-exclusive, so the bigger question may just be which promotions he might materialize in.
“All of the above,” Sylvia said with a laugh. “Whoever is willing to fight me. I’ll fight anybody, anytime, anywhere, any place. So if they come up with the money everyone else is matching, I’m going to go there and fight.”
One fight in particular that seems to peek Sylvia’s interest is a match-up with former Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko, who is currently a free agent searching for a new home.
“I have the utmost respect for that guy,” Sylvia commented about Fedor. “He’s ranked No. 1 in the world. I want to challenge myself, and I want to fight him. No doubt in my mind. It’s the best fight out there for the both of us right now. You know he hasn’t fought any No. 1 contenders in a while and I think he needs to be tested and I want to be tested. I think it’s a great fight for me, it’s a great fight for him, and I think we need to make that fight happen.”
The list of top heavyweights available for Sylvia to fight keeps growing and the former heavyweight champ said he hopes to fight soon. He is currently eyeing a fight in May, June or July.
For now, Sylvia will enjoy his other pastime, as he enjoys turkey hunting across the U.S. until the end of April.