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UFC veterans share stories about ‘hobbit dirt bag’ former matchmaker Joe Silva

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Gray Maynard, Mike Pierce, Jon Fitch, and other UFC veterans are not only speaking out against poor UFC pay, they also created a #JoeSilvaStories hashtag.

UFC Hall of Fame 2017 Induction Ceremony Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

As stars like Jon Jones, Jorge Masvidal and Conor McGregor aired their grievances with the UFC, more current and former fighters of the promotion have been speaking out as of late. They’ve voiced their issues about fighter pay, and pushed for athletes to organize and collectively bargain against the multi-billion dollar company.

As these UFC veterans shared their experiences on social media, many seem to have one thing in common: a disdain for Joe Silva and how he handled negotiations during his time with the promotion. As the conversation went on, former title contender Gray Maynard has also started a #JoeSilvaStories hashtag to encourage more people to share more anecdotes from the former matchmaker.

Apart from Maynard, the discussion so far included the likes of former title contender Jon Fitch, Mike Pierce and Matt Pena, who used to coach guys like Tim Sylvia, Robbie Lawler and others from the Miletich camp.

Stories about Silva’s harsh negotiation tactics aren’t new, and a lot of them were even discussed on the on-going anti-trust lawsuit against the UFC. Here’s a few snippets involving Nick Diaz and Hector Lombard’s contracts, with much more situations and details in the actual excerpts and depositions:

Silva’s negotiating style is also on display in emails from April 2010, when he discussed his approach to trying to re-sign Nick Diaz (see Extract 4). “I lowballed them on purpose the first offer knowing they would turn it down,” wrote Silva. “How bout I come back with 29+29, 32+32, 35+35, 38+38. If they turn it down I put him in a prelim against a really tough guy for his last fight.”

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Silva, who explained that when Lombard was on the fourth fight of his eight-fight UFC contract, he stood to make $205,000 to show and $75,000 to win. However, Silva said he was able to convince Lombard to fight for less than half that amount ($100,000) in exchange for not being cut by the promotion.

Silva was the UFC matchmaker from 1997 to 2016. In 2017, he was inducted to the UFC hall-of-fame in the Contributors wing.