Some folks have argued in recent weeks the UFC’s new ownership is pushing the promotion in a direction where fights that sell, rather than fights that should happen, are the priority. Based off comments the legendary Anderson Silva has made, it sounds like the former middleweight champ agrees with that assessment.
Of course, even before the UFC sold to WME-IMG for a reported $4 billion dollar price tag, the promotion has made moves that raised the ire of hardcore fans. For example, CM Punk was signed by the UFC before the sale took place, and the pro-wrestling star had never fought in a pro-MMA bout. James Toney, the decorated boxer, was brought into fight Randy Couture in 2010.
But, more recently we’ve seen Dana White make an offer to Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather for a boxing match. McGregor was allowed to challenge for the 155 title, while holding the featherweight belt. Fighters like Mickey Gall and Sage Northcutt have been placed in high profile bouts, despite the fact they’re far from veteran fighters.
Well, recently Silva appeared on the Combate News TV show in Brazil, and “The Spider” said this about the new ownership group (quote via MMA Fighting):
“This is what they did their entire lives, work with entertainment. We have to understand that. It’s hard because we think about the martial arts, what is correct. For the show, some fights make sense and others don’t. They end up losing some fans but gain some.
“I think they are trying to make it more entertainment and and less martial arts,” Silva added. “MMA doesn’t have the martial art philosophy, but it’s becoming less sport and turning into entertainment.”
It’s an interesting argument, as there’s no question the ownership team has a sizeable debt it has to pay off. But, others have also noted there’s been more talk about bouts that don’t really make sense, from a purist point of view, than those that have actually been booked.