MMA legend Wanderlei Silva says UFC threatened to sue if he appears for a Bellator event

MMA legend Wanderlei Silva says UFC threatened to sue if he appears for a Bellator event

Photo via Knockout Nation

As if their falling out wasn’t ugly enough, things has gone more unseemly between Wanderlei Silva and the UFC.

Sometime in late November, the Brazilian slugger was touted to appear in a signing event heading into Bellator 131 along with fellow legends Frank Shamrock, Royce Gracie, and Randy Couture but claimed the Zuffa-owned company sabotaged his supposed presence by threatening to sue him. Silva revealed the circumstances through a tirade video directed against his former employers.

Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva (white trunks) went toe-to-toe with Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell (blue) in one of the best slugfests in the history of fight sports.

The promotion, according to Silva, contacted and told him he is still officially under contract despite a lifetime ban issued by the Nevada State Athletic Commission last September which led to his subsequent retirement. Evidently, the stipulations does not only involve actual fights but also covers promotional ventures which is what exactly what he will do over at Bellator.

The Axe Murderer“, of course, did not appear for the said autograph signing but the botched chance to earn and make a living left the one-time PRIDE FC Middleweight champion beside himself in anger. He was allegedly in line to receive $10,000 for two hours of signing John Hancocks for MMA fans at Newport Beach.

“The other week I was invited to make an appearance for another MMA event (Bellator),” stated Silva in his native Portuguese. I would get paid 10 thousand to sign autographs for 2 hours. 2 days before, I got an email, saying if I made the appearance I would get sued by my former employers (Zuffa). Claiming I’m still under contract, that they own an image that I built with my blood and sweat.”

“I am retired, I don’t fight anymore, I lost the desire. So what stops me from generating income now? Are these people going to keep threatening me? They’ll keep coming to sue me every time I work with my image? How is that going to be? This is a shame.

Silva has released three videos before with serious anti-UFC implications and similar overtones once again pervaded the most recent one.

“These guys are doing things above the law. Because the law clearly states that every person is free to come and go. And they want to take that away from the athletes? How is that? This is not right at all; this is wrong. We can’t live under this kind of control.”

UFC president Dana White recently upheld the rightfulness of the company’s dealings with its fighters. White reiterated Silva was paid very lavishly during his tenure with the promotion even with the constant injuries and pullouts which led the Curitiba native to appear in only nine occasions in almost six years. (And to White’s estimate, six fights in the last five years.) Needless to say, Silva kind of shot himself in the foot also by fleeing during the random tests and admitted on taking diuretics during the investigation.

If overwork is to fight once a year, so I do not know what to tell you,” said White (via Google Translate per the Brazilian media channel Combate). “You know how much money Wanderlei won since he started fighting in the UFC? He earned $9.7 million. He says everyone is getting rich except the fighters; then what does he consider rich?

Wanderlei has denied White’s claims on his supposed earnings and went berserk after learning he can’t make some dough off his name without sorting it out with the Las Vegas-based promotion first.

“Will they pay my bills? If you want me under contract then pay me. So you want to use me until the end but not pay me?… I spilled all my blood for nothing.”

In the video, Silva also touched topics on fellow fighters, particularly about Rampage Jackson‘s issues with Bellator and his misguided criticism of Cain Velasquez‘ withdrawal from UFC 180.

It looks like Wanderlei Silva really missed being in the limelight more than anything.


Jan Obguia

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