Wanderlei Silva Claims UFC Threatened to Sue if He Signed Autographs for Bellator

November 29, 2014
Comments off

In the lead-up to Bellator 131, the promotion enlisted some of the pioneering names in mixed martial arts to do appearances, sign autographs, and generally help promote Bellator’s first event in its move away from its original seasonal tournament-based format.

Royce Gracie, Randy Couture, and Frank Shamrock were a big part of the festivities, and Wanderlei Silva was supposed to be a late addition to the line-up. But that was before UFC officials caught wind of the situation.

Silva, despite recently retiring and then being banned from competition for life by the Nevada Athletic Commission, is still under contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which apparently extends to his promotional activities as well as his competitive career.

SEE ALSO: Wanderlei Silva Retirement, UFC Tirade Video

Wanderlei SilvaSilva, in a new video released via his YouTube channel, said that he was to be paid $10,000 for two hours of signing autographs as part of the Bellator 131 promotion, but added that was quickly nullified when the UFC pointed out that he was still under contract and threatened to sue if he appeared.

That hasn’t sat well with Silva, who once again railed on his former employer.

“I am retired, I don’t fight anymore, I lost the desire,” Silva said. “So what stops me from generating income now? Are these people going to keep threatening me? They’ll keep coming to sue me every time I work with my image? How is that going to be? This is a shame.

“These guys are doing things above the law. Because the law clearly states that every person is free to come and go. And they want to take that away from the athletes? How is that? This is not right at all; this is wrong. We can’t live under this kind of control,” he continued.

SEE ALSO: VIDEO – Wanderlei Silva Swings His Axe at the UFC Again, ‘I Can’t Work Anymore’

“So I can’t work anymore, I can’t profit from the image that I built with my blood, my sweat, my heart and everything that you all witnessed?”

UFC president Dana White recently defended his company’s handling of Silva, telling Brazilian media outlet Combate that “The Axe Murderer” was paid handsomely during his time in the UFC.

“Wanderlei Silva fought six times in the last five years. If overwork is to fight once a year, I do not know what to tell you,” White said (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?”

Whatever he was paid, and however he was treated, Silva certainly doesn’t believe it was as it should be. He’s been extremely vocal since his retirement and subsequent ban, saying that the UFC has all the control and is using it to press fighters into contracts that he feels only favor the promotion, leaving Silva with a sour taste in his mouth.

“So I spilled all my blood for nothing.”

Follow MMAWeekly.com on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

  • TheCerealKiller

    Why won’t he share his contract with us so a child can explain to him what he has to do to fulfill it? As for all his bitching about money, the UFC paid him 9.7 million and his net worth is 16mill. Sounds like the UFC paid you better than your previous job.

    • dad

      Your mom (+ sister) has aids.

      • Echinsu_ocha

        Grow up, grow a pair and most importantly…. Shut the hell up. What a pathetic moron.

      • TheCerealKiller


  • Seth

    Well…it was all good when he was paid by UFC. As long as he kept all the perks of his deal, he kept his mouth shut and no one was mistreated in his eyes. ONLY NOW when he isn’t profiting from it – now fighters are mistreated. Now UFC is bad. Wake up, man.

    Also, UFC would sue ANYONE of their contracted workers if they decided to go to their competition and work for them, while being under the contract with UFC. You aren’t special, Wandy.

  • Piotr

    Suing someone for making money by signing autographs is sickening(and illegal despite their BS contract). You can not keep someone from making a living. UFC is garbage.

    • Seth

      Bellator did the same thing with Eddie. I didn’t saw you back then, talking how bad it is to prevent someone from making money.

      Fact is – UFC did NOTHING wrong. If Wand has a clause in his contract that says he can’t do certain stuff and Wand HIMSELF SIGNED that deal (which means he AGREED TO IT), then why UFC shouldn’t prevent him from helping their competition? I see nothing illegal with executing contracted rights. What “illegal” UFC did here?

      • Jason Priest

        He’s suspended indefinitely and retired. They can terminate his contract at any time. Why would they hold a guy who has kids hostage and prevent him from providing for his family, contract or not? Dana roasted Bjorn Rebney for these kind of tactics with Eddie and other fighters but here we are. If he’s no use to you, release him. Pretty cut and dry.

        • Seth

          But they can still use him. Same way Bellator wanted too. He still may do autograph signings for UFC. He still may shows up on UFCs Fan Expo. There is still a few things UFC may use him for. And all of that – within his contract that still exists and is fully legal. On top of that – Wandy agreed to all of that, so there is nothing he can do about it.

          • Jason Priest

            We know it’s legal lolz. No need to say it every time you comment. He doesn’t want to work for the UFC anymore, so he’s asking to be released. Why in the hell would any company want to keep a disgruntled, suspended, retired employee around who didn’t want to be there? Just release him lolz. Not a good look for the UFC.

          • dumbatwork

            jason, im going to have to stop you right there.

            a job is a job. when you work for company you understand you responsibilities and limits.

            wanderlei is a FOOL for blowing his money, like most fighters, and crossing lines with his drug use, public denial, lying, and abusing his employer. in this industry, selling your image is EXACTLY what he was doing to get into the UFC. Nothing is stopping him from doing events under the approval of the UFC, but instead he is bitching about using a cheap trick behind his employer’s back.

            Let’s say I work for Apple, and I decide to show my design algorithms to blackberry and let them CHARGE PEOPLE MONEY for viewing my designs.

            Are you seeing how having a job works ?
            I can be suspended, use sick days, take leave, but without being fired, I still have a job, make an income through my company.

            Are you seeing how absurd your logic is ?

            “lolz” … please don’t.

          • Piotr

            He doesn’t work there anymore. They legally can not stop him from making a living period. Because he signed a contract he’s their slave? Sorry, slavery is illegal in America, contracts or not.

          • Echinsu_ocha

            Really?! Slavery?!? Are you kidding me? Yeah because slaves made millions of dollars, had lucrative contracts, abused steroids and then complained about their EMPLOYERS. Slaves were kidnapped, forced to work and we’re not paid. They were property not a willing participant in their work. Slaves were forced labour not a well paid employee. Get an education and try to make a real point rather than using specific words for shock value. By far one of the least educated things I’ve read in a long time.

          • Piotr

            Yes Slavery. Being forced to work and not being allowed to work for anyone else. Read the constitution if you’re so outraged.

          • Echinsu_ocha

            Lmao you are really pathetic. They’re in no way forcing him to work at all. But you go on thinking you’re right and thinking Silva is a slave. Wow…… Some people are beyond stupid. Have a good night man.

          • TheCerealKiller

            You win the dumbest comment of the year award. Slaves don’t sign contracts.

          • Jason Priest

            This has got to be the dumbest sh*t I’ve ever read. Haha, congratulations.

          • Echinsu_ocha

            Actually the winner for the “dumbest sh*t” award would be a quote from you “this man has kids to provide for :(” he is a multimillionaire. We are all supposed to feel bad that he signed a contract with a specific company and is crying because he wants to make more money from a different while still under contract. Please learn how contracts work and stop trying to get everyone to pity a man who has made enough money to comfortably retire and do nothing for the rest of his life.

          • Seth

            I just told you why they won’t release him. And I will quote that:
            “But they can still use him. Same way Bellator wanted too. He still may
            do autograph signings for UFC. He still may shows up on UFCs Fan Expo.
            There is still a few things UFC may use him for.”

            If they have contracted rights to him and contracted amount of appereances from him, he will have to fulfill that. Is that hard to understand? UFC doesn’t have to release him ONLY because Wandarlei doesn’t WANT TO fulfill what he agreed on. Why would they?

          • Piotr

            But they’re not doing that, and they’re not paying him anymore. Contract breached.

          • Seth

            Emmm…no? They are not paying him because he doesn’t want to work. He may be banned for life, but he still may do other stuff to fulfill his contract (which also may just expire some time in the future). He may do autograph signings for UFC or show up for Fan Expo – there is still plenty to do for him in the UFC. Of course, if he wants too. No one forces him too – he can just sit at home, doing nothing and wait for contract to expire. Same as Diaz Brothers tried to do, before they realized that they will run out of money by doing that.

            Why UFC is bad here, while it’s Wandarlei who doesn’t want to fulfill his contract? If he signed it and took the money – he should man up and honor that deal. UFC doesn’t have to terminate that contract ONLY because Wandarlei wants that to happen. And if you say that UFC breached the deal…well, then it’s easy case for Wandy to go to the court, right? I mean, if you all say its illegal then I guess you know exactly what his deal looks like and you are perfectly right that there is no clause preventing Wandarlei for working for UFCs competition while he’s under contract with UFC, right? And if that’s the case…then he would EASILY win in court. Then why he won’t do that? Crazy idea: Maybe because he actually HAS a clause preventing him for working for UFCs competition in his deal and what UFC did is perfectly legal?

        • Echinsu_ocha

          He’s a retired millionaire, pretty far from being unable to provide for his kids. Average income for a household nowadays is like 60,000…… I think with the millions he has made his family will have a nice comfortable life and not have to worry about much. “He has a family to provide for!” Is an overused, hollow joke of an excuse in this case.

      • Boss

        Employment Contracts never over ride the law. It does not matter what he signed, if it’s illegal it’s illegal.

        • Seth

          Its totally legal. I don’t understand what you guys see as “illegal” in that. UFC’s employee, still under existing contract, wanted to go and work for UFCs competition and help them to promote their event. It’s totally legal and normal that UFC prevented their own worker from helping their competition. Whats wrong with that? X.x

    • Timothy Malone

      They’re not keeping him from making a living. He can go put in his application at the local restaurant and wait tables. UFC won’t care.

  • Echinsu_ocha

    So if you are so convinced that what they’re doing is “above the law” aka illegal, then take them to court over it. Or let then go ahead and sue you since you claim they have no legal way of stopping you from appearing for rival promotions etc. I think he’s an idiot but still smart enough to know what he signed and that it is legally binding until the contract expires. If you don’t want to be restricted in what you do then do not sign something with those stipulations. The UFC is not to blame, they offered up a contract and he signed, they did not twist his arm or hold a gun to his head. Also the UFC is not underpaying fighters, they pay salaries that are on average higher than than every other organization. If you are not comfortable with the salary you are offered, negotiate or better yet take your talents somewhere else if you believe you can get a higher price.

  • Jason Priest

    Just release him from his contract. If he’s retired and suspended why would you keep him under contract preventing him from generating income? This man has kids for christ’s sake.

    • TheCerealKiller

      He’s a millionaire, his kids aren’t suffering. If the kids were suffering, he should shut his mouth and go back to work. It’s kind of hard for the UFC to use him when he is constantly bashing them.

    • sodumb

      why would he be released from his contract ?

      would you release britney spears from her contract if you owned her image/record sales ?

      wow you are dumb. he has a job with ufc, maybe he should just stop taking steroids and wasting the millions he has made over the years.

      • Piotr

        Your name is perfect for you. He doesn’t have a job with UFC. He’s retired.

      • Jason Priest

        Britney Spears?!?! Please tell me you’re not a man.

        • Echinsu_ocha

          He’s not a man because he used a female pop star as an example?? Good to know you’re the judge of who’s a man and who isn’t. Give it up and try you’re hardest not to be a douche.

          • Jason Priest

            *you’re = *your. Learn how to spell and form coherent sentences, genius. lmao. How is anyone supposed to take you seriously when you don’t even the difference between “you’re” and “your” haha. You knob.

  • Joe Dog

    Let ’em sue.

  • Yup, that’s right dana white, don’t let 1 cent go to waste you ambitious sack of crap! As if you need that contract so bad……karma will get you at the end…

  • Corey Hutton

    I like how you people say “Claimed”, Trying to kiss ass and stay in White’s pocket, huh?

  • wandysmother

    thats payback for skipping out of the fight with sonnen… bitch

  • Pete

    Let’s talk realities. Wanderlei can still find employment elsewhere. He just can’t do business with a UFC rival while still under contract. What’s stopping Wanderlei from doing things like taking acting gigs, a TV job, teach seminars, etc. No company (that I’m aware of) in ANY business sector has allowed a contracted employee out of their contract and not enforced the terms of the release (i.e. the non-compete clause). Why should the UFC do the same for Wanderlei? Would Apple release a contracted employee so they could immediately go to work for Microsoft?

    The fact is Wanderlei knew what he was getting into when he signed the contract. IF there were issues, why didn’t someone from his camp (his lawyer for instance) bring them up? Heck, why hasn’t he sued the UFC if he believes they’re breaking the law? If he wants to foster change, what better way than to do it in a court of law where a legal precedent can be established? Many fighters have been successful in making money outside of the MMA world (especially once they’ve retired). What’s stopping Wanderlei from doing the same?

  • Ira Weinberg

    If he really may 9.7 million like Dana claimed then he should keep his mangled trap shut

  • TheCerealKiller

    The average annual salary of an NHL player is $2.4 million. They play 82 games a year. Wandy averaged just under 2 million a year for the last 5 years. He only performed 6 times. Just thought I would point that out.

  • str8out

    that is BULLSHIT you can check out how much Wanderlei Silva made every-time he fought in the UFC goggle it. Lex Luthor AKA Dianna White is full of shit. wake up UFC is not the best league with all the best fighters check out Dream, M1 and yes even Bellator. if your a UFC fan you will disagree but if your a MMA fan you know i am telling the truth. CHECK IT OUT….

    • TheCerealKiller

      Back stage bonuses ad PPV money is not disclosed.

  • Eric Houghton

    What’s his annual income from sponsors and merchandise sales?

    Wanderlei comes off as an ignorant child, you want to support the UFC’s competition while still collecting a check for the royalties your image gets while retired?

    Dana White has absolutely ZERO reason to lie in this one. He gains NOTHING by it. Hate him or love him it’s a business and that means greed DEFINITELY takes precedence over what’s morally right or wrong. It’s called ethics vs morals.

    Now that being said remember who killed his own career by running from a drug test. It’s just too bad that the media gives him a sypmathetic ear.

    You know what I personally would do if I were Wanderlei? Get into the voice acting game in Brazil yo.

  • robc

    The reason he is still under contract is so that the UFC can retain the right to show fight footage of him… His fights show up on fightpass and best of shows. Also highlight reels during UFC events. If they terminate his contract, they lose the right to use his image and recordings. Also things like him being in UFC video games etc. Mind you pretty much the only fighters he has fought that is still active in the UFC is Michael Bisping, Mark Hunt and Dan Henderson. The UFC paid some serious money when they bought Pride to ensure that they got access to all fight footage as well.

    The UFC is doing nothing illegal or immoral here. There is a contract in place that they expect Silva to obey. It has a end date so he can either wait it out or negotiate an early termination. They put a lot of money into promoting Silva and made him very well known in the US market. During his Pride days only us hardcore MMA fans had a clue who he was.

    Imagine what the UFC press machine could have done to Fedor if he joined them. Hell they made Anderson Silva a household name in the US and the guy speaks no english…