Legendary MMA fighter Wanderlei Silva has announced in a video blog that he is retiring from the sport, bringing an 18 year professional career to a close.
However, Silva hasn’t just quietly announced his decision to hang up his gloves, instead going out swinging by blaming the UFC for his decision to quit.
“Today is a very sad day for me,” Silva said. “I can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep being treated this way. I am stepping down from the ring. After today, Wanderlei Silva will not fight again. My career is over because I don’t have the stage to perform where athletes get the proper respect.”
“They don’t respect the athletes, they don’t take care of the athletes, they don’t pay the athletes,” Silva also stated. “They don’t give anything to the athletes, only crumbs. And this is a shameless lack of respect, but enough is enough.”
Silva claims he was continually pressured into taking his fight with Chael Sonnen earlier in the year even though he told the UFC that he was dealing with injuries and didn’t feel he’d be fit enough to fight.
He also expressed anger at the way former bantamweight champion Renan Barao has been treated by the promotion, both by making him fight several times in a short space of time and then “bashed and mocked him” afterwards.
“This makes me angry and makes me look at the sport in a different way. They are taking away my desire to fight. I don’t feel like fighting anymore when I hear these statements.”
While the 38 year-old may have some legitimate grievances with the UFC, there may well be more to his decision to quit beyond his fall-out with the sport’s leading promotion.
His fight with Sonnen at UFC 175 was cancelled after he was alleged to have fled a random pre-fight drugs test, which he initially denied but then later confessed, claiming that he had been taking an illegal diuretic to help with a wrist injury.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has been attempting to discipline him over the incident, though Silva had been battling against there right to do so through his lawyer who had filed to dismiss the case against him.
In his video Silva also noted that his years of fighting had taken their toll on him, with some of the injuries he’s suffered being permanent and so that will undoubtedly have played a part in his decision.
Silva last fought in March of 2013 in Japan, earning a knockout victory over Brian Stann in a typically exciting and hard-hitting encounter that had been the hallmark of ‘The Axe-Murderer’s’ career.
It was perhaps fitting that his final fight was in Japan since it’s his time in the PRIDE organization that he will be most fondly remembered for, becoming one of the most feared fighters of all time with a succession of brutal stoppage victories and memorable wars with other stars like Mirko Cro Cop, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Dan Henderson.
In total he fought 27 times for the PRIDE organization, producing a 21-4-1 (+1nc) record. He then moved on to the UFC, but was never able to put together a winning run in the Octagon and now bows out with a 5-7 record overall for the promotion, leaving him with a total career record of 35-12-1 (+1nc).
It’s a great shame that one of the most famous fighters in the sport has ended his career on a sour note, but while he appears to have burned his bridges with the UFC there’s no doubt that he’ll always have a place in MMA’s Hall Of Fame.