Is Anderson Silva a deserving champion, and an extremely skilled fighter? Of course. I don't think anyone would argue to the contrary, but at the same time he has essentially waged war on any support he had with fans of both the casual and hardcore variety. Silva, one of the absolute baddest men on the planet, has been relegated to being called a clown by the fans, and paraphrasing a bit a shameful disgrace by his boss. Everyone has a pretty good idea why Silva has apparently preferred big name fights, and it all revolves around his contract that gives him a percentage of the PPV receipts. You want to really make a point to Silva, and anyone else who thinks going out of their way to not finish an opponent and at times give the crowd flashbacks to Kalib Starnes is a grand idea? Then take away this incentive by using Silva's fights in the one place they may still have short term value, UFN and UFC on VS.
Now in a perfect world this would take care of itself, Silva's antics would lower peoples opinions of him to the point no one would buy cards that featured him, and while that is still likely to happen allowing market forces to punish Silva will also end up punishing the UFC and the sport as a whole. If Silva truely drives people away from his performances on PPV it will also serve to tank that whole shows numbers, doing a disservice to any other quality fights that have the misfortune of being pared up on that card. Having a fighter that resembles pay per view cancer isn't exactly good for business in any stretch of the imagination, specially in a competiive enviroment that precludes the UFC from simply releasing him to another organization.
The obvious solution in my mind is to essentially banish the Middleweight champion to free TV and use the fighters lingering star value to build up the brand in a situation that his antics might actually draw in people to watch. I know there aren't many casual fans that will shell out 50$ to see Silva act like a fool in the middle of the ring for 25 minutes, but there a lot more people that would tune in for the spectacle, and the chance to see Silva actually get put in his place by any of a string of challengers including Sonnen / Marquardt / Belfor / Okami / Sexyama / Wandy or even someone like Lawler if he were to jump ship. Also, on the chance that someone finally ends Silva's reign, it'd be done on live free TV instantly building up that fighter a bit more than a PPV victory would with the increased viewership, and the possible connection it may form with the viewer much akin to the "star is born" moment that Griffin and Bonnar shared.
In my opinion they would lose less money putting these fights on free TV and using them to draw interest than they would risking tarnishing their brand further by another terrible performance headlining a PPV card. In additionthe message it would send to those in the upper echelon that that kind of performance as a pattern is not tolerated, champion or not.
Should Anderson Silva be relegated to free TV?
Yes. (86 votes)
No. (45 votes)
He should be relegated to the center ring at the local circus. (27 votes)
158 total votes