One of the biggest stars in the UFC will be taking the rest of the year off. According to Dana White, Anderson Silva, the UFC's ultra-dominant middleweight champion, will be sitting out the rest of the year.
MMA Junkie has the story:
"Anderson said he wants to take some time off until after the end of this year, and then we'll start talking to him," White said. "Anderson is going to fight after the end of the year."
Up next for Silva could be fast-rising contender and undefeated Chris Weidman (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC), who's made no secret of his desire to challenge for the title. Silva and his reps have been vocal about not wanting the Weidman bout and preferring a super fight with welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre (22-2 MMA, 16-2 UFC), which is a bout White hasn't completely discounted as a possibility.
"They can be as vocal as they want to be," White said. "Whatever the fight is, the fight is. But we haven't decided anything."
There are two big issues here.
The first being that the UFC is still lacking for big fights. They haven't created a ton of stars that can carry a PPV simply by being in the main event and having Silva out the rest of 2012 cuts at least one big show off the schedule. It's far from the end of the world or anything, but having one of your top stars go as long as Silva is between bouts hurts business. With the injuries that have affected the UFC to this point, it's not good to get one Silva fight between August 2011 and sometime in 2013.
The other issue is Dana saying that Silva and his camp have no control over the fight.
I know the idea that fighters should have the power to say no to fights that the UFC wants bothers some people, but career control is something that matters. I've talked to people who have been involved in past talks about starting a major fighter union and they've said that what fighters lack isn't money so much as it is power over their careers.
Now, I don't know exactly where I stand on the idea of fighters unionizing, which is why I've been gathering information (teaser for an article in the coming month or so). But, if a guy like Silva has no control over if what fights he wants to take at the very end of a long and incredibly successful career, that's not a good thing in my eyes. And an agent worth his salt would step in as soon as Dana is making those kind of comments in public.
Unfortunately there aren't a lot of those agents involved with MMA right now.