An extremely emotional Wanderlei Silva on Friday released a video on YouTube announcing his retirement from fighting.
He didn’t stop there, however. He also provided plenty of reasoning behind his retirement, perhaps to deflect away from his current status with the Nevada Athletic Commission or maybe his current regulatory struggles are just a portion of the reasoning, as he indicated in the video.
Silva has been brought before the Nevada Athletic Commission for fleeing from a random drug test in late May, a drug test related to his agreed bout with Chael Sonnen at UFC 175; a fight that fell apart due to the trouble each had in relation to random drug testing.
That case is still being heard by the commission and is on the docket for the NAC’s next monthly meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 23, in Las Vegas. There is a chance it could be dismissed, if his lawyer’s motion is approved, but more likely, the commission will not accept the motion and instead conduct a disciplinary hearing and levy action against him.
The case against him wasn’t the heart of Silva’s retirement monologue, though; the treatment of fighters by promoters, particularly the UFC, was his focus.
“I’ve had numerous injuries and numerous surgeries. Now I’m paying the bill and I feel all those injuries,” said Silva, adding that the promoter, implying the UFC, doesn’t care.
He went on to give further examples, pointing to the UFC not paying him what he was worth until they needed to try and convince him to fight through injury to accept a fight, and notably held up former UFC bantamweight champion Renato Barao as a further exhibit of poor fighter treatment.
After Barao lost his belt to TJ Dillashaw in May, the UFC asked him to fight in an immediate rematch three months later, which admittedly can be a bit of a quick return for some fighters, not so much for others. Silva apparently believed it was too much to ask of Barao, saying that his fellow Brazilian’s body couldn’t handle another weight cut so soon.
But what really upset Silva about the Barao situation was how the UFC treated its former champion when he had complications when cutting weight and ended up at a local hospital.
“What did the promoters do? They bashed and mocked him,” Silva alleged. “This makes me angry and makes me look at the sport in a different way.
“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. 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,” he continued.
In the next moments, it became abundantly clear where this tirade was leading Silva… into retirement.
“For those reasons, I come here today with a very heavy weight in my heart. Today is a very sad day for me. Unfortunately, this organization took away my desire to fight. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep being treated this way,” Silva revealed.
“And with a heavy heart I come here today to declare: I am stepping down from the ring. After today, Wanderlei Silva will not fight again. My career is over. For these reasons, I have had enough.”
Although he retired, it doesn’t appear that Silva is prepared to go gentle into that good night.
Even the title of the video hinted at this, part of which read, “This is Not a Goodbye.”
“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 went on to thank all of his fans around the world for their support and the moments they contributed to: “Moments that no money can buy and no promoter can take away. In the end, the only prize a fighter keeps is you. The rest is only an illusion.”
What Silva’s next step is – what he meant by saying “this is not a goodbye” – was unclear.
UFC officials had no comment on Silva’s retirement or accusations at the time of publication.