Anderson Silva is currently a free agent, but several promoters have seemingly gone out of their way to announce that they aren’t interested in the 45-year-old.
Seemingly before any actual negotiations have even started, Bellator, ONE Championship, PFL, and even BKFC all proactively grabbed headlines and issued statements on how they don’t want to sign the UFC legend. This didn’t sit well with Silva’s former rival in Chael Sonnen, who thinks a lot of these promoters were just trying to get “cheap heat” at Silva’s expense.
“That was a scummy move, by the way,” Sonnen told James Lynch (transcript via MMA Fighting). “That was a real slimy move from a lot of those promotions.
“First off, they weren’t asked the question,” Sonnen said. “So they took a shot at a guy — who they would’ve loved to have at a period of time (but) who didn’t want to come over there, made a decision, hung his hat somewhere else — and are now looking to get some cheap heat, make themselves look like they’re above Anderson by refusing a guy who hasn’t even offered his services. It was a little bit of a slimy move, not to mention it was cold-hearted. To say you don’t want a guy, it’s just a mean thing to do.”
Sonnen went on to say that he believes Silva should’ve taken a different approach to try and get fans and promoters interested.
“No, I don’t think we’ll see him fight again because I think those promotions are telling the truth. I think there’s a much better way to go about it than the way that he went about it,” Sonnen said. “I don’t think you should come out and just offer your services somewhere. I think that you should have a finished product. He should have found a very specific opponent, taken it to the audience first to make sure the audience wanted it, then added some flames to it, and then dropped it in a promoter’s lap.”
Silva is clearly long past his championship form, but he still showed some good moments even in his last few losses against top level UFC contenders and champions. He probably has enough in the tank to look great against fellow veterans of his generation and lower level regional fighters, but why is everyone suddenly above signing the 45-year-old?
Bellator and ONE have both had terrible senior circuit bouts involving long retired 50-year-olds. BKFC has a similar history involving many who are well past their primes, and even supposedly tried to sign Mike Tyson recently. Even the UFC has allowed fighters far less skilled, and far more washed to compete. Did they all suddenly have a change in heart and now claim moral high ground?
As Sonnen said, these promoters are trying to get an easy PR push at Silva’s expense, but the core of these “rejections” really all boils down to the price tag he demands.
Silva’s purse hasn’t been made public for years now, but he earned $800,000 at minimum in 2017 — and possibly much more. How many of these promotions think paying something similar for his 45-year-old version is still worth that investment? How many of these promotions can even afford that? Very few. Possibly zero.
But how many of these organizations would instantly jump at the chance at booking Silva if they can sign him really cheap? Every single one of them.