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And Now He’s Retired (And Likely Blacklisted): Wanderlei Silva Retires and Buries the UFC

Wanderlei Silva has retired after a storied career in mixed martial arts dating back to 1996.

It’s just a shame he had to announce his retirement after a drug test scandal and before he was set to appear in front of the NSAC.

What made it worse–or better depending on your perspective–is that Silva trashed the UFC in his 13-minute retirement video.

Here are some of his most poignant lines (transcribed by MMAjunkie):

Unfortunately, this organization took away my desire to fight. I can’t do this anymore. 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 because I don’t have a stage to perform where the athletes get the proper respect.

Fair enough. Let’s see what else he said:

They told me I had to fight on that date [at UFC 175] and offered me a bunch of money. They would pay me extra to fight on that date. So I asked myself, if they had the money, why didn’t they offer it to me before? They always hold on to the money, so they always underpay the athletes. But they do have the money. I said, ‘Sorry, but I won’t take this money because I won’t be in a condition to perform the way my fans expect of me.’ We had another meeting after that and they kept pressuring me. I said I could only fight at the end of the year. They opened their eyes wide: ‘Only at the end of the year?’ I was not in the physical condition to fight on the July card.

Then Silva went on a bit of a tangent. He cited the UFC’s treatment of Renan Barao at UFC 177 (read: not paying him a cent) as yet another reason he was upset. He said the UFC over-worked Barao and made him train every day for six months due to the way he was booked. He said they “bashed and mocked” Barao once his body collapsed after all the training. He also took issue with the fact that Dana White and “the media” allegedly called Barao a “kid” (which he’s right to complain about; it annoys the shit out of us too). Here’s some more of his rant:

This makes me angry and makes me look at the sport in a different way. They are taking away my desire to fight. I don’t feel like fighting anymore when I hear these statements. … That’s the minimum a fighter deserves. If you’re not going to give them money, you should at least give them respect. The few fighters who have a name are forced to fight all year long, because they want to make 50 events a year.

Furthermore, he charged the UFC of “wearing down the athletes” and that there was a terrible binary in the UFC: Accept every fight the UFC gives you, even if you’re hurt, or you’re “worthless” to the company. He said the UFC is making “rivers of money” while only giving “crumbs” to the athletes.

So, yeah. He’s definitely on Dana White’s shit-list now.

Silva makes some good points in his rant, but it’s all just a veneer. He ran from a drug test, and now he’s trying to run from any form of punishment. And burying the UFC during the video, while understandable, just seems like a cheap way to retire on some kind of non-existent moral high ground.

“I’m not retiring because of drug test reasons. I’m retiring because the UFC is EVIL!”

It’s unfortunate to see one of the greats go out like that. It’s even more unfortunate that the UFC will likely respond with erasing Silva from MMA history.

Silva retires with a 35-12-1 (1) record. Hopefully his legacy as one of MMA’s most aggressive and exciting fighters (as opposed to merely athletes) will survive the further ugliness that’s sure to come.

But even if it doesn’t, look on the bright side: When all of Silva’s fights are deleted from Fight Pass, you can still watch him wreck people in IVC.

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