Former UFC competitor and MMA legend Chael Sonnen gave his two-cents on his one-time rival, Anderson Silva’s interest to fight again. Silva finished his UFC career with a fourth-round TKO loss to Uriah Hall at UFC Fight Night on October 31, ending a 23-year combat sports career. Sonnen sat with James Lynch to discuss Silva’s fate with the sport.
“No, I don’t think we’ll see him fight again because I think those promotions are telling the truth,” Chael Sonnen told James Lynch. “I think there’s a much better way to go about it than the way that he went about it. 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 has been an inspiration to many who have watched him fight and have even shared the Octagon with him as they would bravely face off against a multi-skilled fighter with a limitless skillset.
After receiving a swan song and ending an illustrious career gracefully, to go around and offer your services to several other promotions may not be a smart move on Silva’s part. Accepting one’s fate when it’s time to leave the sport is hard for some people. Others may stick around to do it for needed income due to their inability to manage their finances. Others may do it to test themselves against younger fighters.
He has given everything that he had to offer for the sport of mixed martial arts. Giving the fans a joyride of caged artistry that no one may ever match with one hand, a return to competition would take away from what he has contributed with the other. This would spell doom for someone who has nothing more to prove, displaying a level of dominance that will forever raise the bar for fighters to try and match.
But “The American Gangster” wasn’t done expressing his displeasure with the situation surrounding the former UFC middleweight champion and the way other promotions have handled their disinterest.
“That was a scummy move, by the way,” Sonnen said. “That was a real slimy move from a lot of those promotions. First off, they weren’t asked the question, 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.”
Bellator MMA president Scott Coker, PFL brass, along with ONE Championship and even Bare Knuckle FC have also rejected Silva’s services. As one would imagine that signing a legendary fighter would bring fans in droves to see him perform, could saying no to him be a good thing for both parties? Where Silva has lost a step, other promotions may also gain traction by embracing a youth movement without depending on nostalgia to garner casual interest.
While taking initiative in denying Silva a chance to fight, they may be doing it to protect the future of their respective businesses in order to focus their attention on the upstart rosters they have to help build those promotions for years to come. This is a bold, as well as cold decision for promoters to make. This may also protect their product should they look to gain traction to develop depth and market a new breed of stars for a brighter future.