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Wanderlei Silva: ‘Of course I want to join’ the MMAAA

Former UFC and Pride star Wanderlei Silva has taken a keen interest in the expanding number of fighters’ associations entering the MMA sphere.

It’s been a minute since Wanderlei Silva last fought. In fact, if you want to be more precise, it’s been closer to 1,900,000 minutes. But while Silva may not have stepped in the cage since 2013, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been fighting. “The Axe Murderer” was involved in an extended battle with the Nevada State Athletic Commission after apparently refusing a drug test in 2014. An eventual lifetime ban on Silva was lifted in 2015 and by early 2016 Silva was able to negotiate his release from the UFC.

Since then, he’s signed with Bellator and RIZIN, with the intention to compete in events for both the US and Japanese organizations. But, along the way, a new fight appears to have caught Silva’s eye: Collective bargaining.

Silva has been a public supporter of the MMAFA in recent months. And now, with the newly announced Mixed Martial Arts Athletes’ Association (MMAAA) headed by Georges St-Pierre, Tim Kennedy, and several other notable fighters (and assisted by Bjorn Rebney), Silva told Sub Radio that he’s definitely interested in joining their cause:

“I think it’s a really good idea,” Silva said. “We need to have a federation that takes care of us because now, the guys at my age, we start to retire. And I’m so glad, thank god I saved my money, because nobody knocked on my door and is asking if I need anything. But I hear some big names, some good names, some guys don’t have money to take care of themselves, to pay for the injuries. We saw some guys with problems with their head, some guys with problems with the body and nobody cares about these guys. We need somebody because the guys sold their event for four billion, and we have some guys who don’t have money to pay for their injuries. Somebody needs to take care about us.”

“Of course I want to join the association,” continued Silva, when asked if he was looking to become a member. “I want to join and I want to help and give support, because I hope the new fighters have more support than us.”

“The truth, the fair needs to be fifty-fifty minimum. Because this company last year made 600 million (dollars) and the guys take off the sponsors for the fighters. How these guys can live? If we want to fight three fights a year, we can’t live. And I saw a lot of guys with names, especially in Brazil, go back to (teaching) class, back to work in the nightclubs. We’re going to the opposite (direction). We don’t go up, we go down. Because when you make a fighter poor, he doesn’t have money to take care of himself, doesn’t have money to pay for supplements, to pay good coach. The quality of the fighters is going down. We lost. Everybody lost. We need to have better conditions for the fighters.”

And while Silva has yet to compete for Bellator, he seems to be enjoying the promotion’s atmosphere, telling Sub Radio, “the promoters take care of us, respect us, and for me, offered really good money. I like it, and I hope everybody has the same conditions.”

Silva was scheduled to compete as part of the RIZIN FF 2016 World Openweight Grand Prix against Mirko CroCop on December 29th. However, due to a slower than expected recovery from injury, Silva was removed from the event. No word yet as to when he’ll be back in action.