Upon retiring from fighting, Wanderlei Silva lashed out at the UFC and other fight promoters for taking advantage of the fighters, underpaying them, and treating them with little respect or dignity.
“Enough is enough. They don’t respect us as athletes. They don’t respect us at all,” he said.
Not only did he complain, he also seemed to take the cause upon himself to do something about the situation. He didn’t say specifically what he would do aside from speaking out, but he did plan to at least do that much, leveraging his popularity to shine a light on what he sees as unfair treatment.
“Wanderlei Silva is rising up now,” he said. “The fighters need a voice. They need someone who will speak up about the truth. I am here to say the truth. They can’t shut me up.”
He said all of that, and much more in his retirement video. But now, several weeks later, Silva has returned with another video, once again trashing his former employer and demanding that things change, in fact, promising that things would change.
“If it wasn’t for us fighters, who have carried the sport on our backs since the very beginning… without fighters there is no fight, there’s no event, and no show. (But) fighters are getting paid each time less, purses are decreasing instead of increasing,” he proclaimed. “If you own an event, it’s your job to make sure the athletes are satisfied when they fight.”
There are very few fighters actively competing that are saying what Silva is saying. He believes that is because their contracts would be terminated if they did speak up, so he is ready to do the speaking for them.
“The active fighters can’t speak up or they will be fired. Because this monopoly doesn’t allow for a free market. We have to free the fighters so they can fight wherever they want,” Silva said. “I am here to fight for our rights. Unfortunately, I won’t collect the fruits of what I’m planting.
“Now you have a guy with the guts to say the truth because I’m not afraid of anyone,” he continued. “This mission has been given to me and I have accepted.”
Silva also pointed out that he is indeed retired and does not expect to reap any rewards for his effort to change the conditions and the treatment for fighters. He says, however, that he intends to change the future for his class, the warrior class, that is competing now and in the future.
Silva owns and operates a martial arts gym in Las Vegas, which has a team of fighters, both on the amateur and professional level, as well as everyday traditional classes.