Wanderlei Silva Slams the UFC Over Legally Blocking Him From Working With Bellator
MMA legend Wanderlei Silva has just released a new video slamming his former employers, the UFC. In the video, the former PRIDE FC star explains that he was set to make $10,000 to sign autographs for Bellator, promoting their Bellator 131: Ortiz vs Bonnar event. However, the UFC still owns his contractual rights, even though Wanderlei Silva is banned for life from the Nevada State Athletic Commission from fighting, and prevented Silva going through with the Bellator appearance.
Here’s some of the things Wanderlei Silva had to say in the video:
“The other week I was invited to make an appearance for another event. I would get paid $10,000 to sign autographs for two hours. Two days before the appearance I got an email saying that if I did the appearance I’d be sued by my former employers, claiming that I’m still under contract. But how do you have a retired fighter under contract? So I can’t work anymore, I can’t profit from the image I built? With my blood, my sweat, my heart and everything that you all witnessed.
These guys have already profited so much off me. So are they going to pay me for my time, are they going to ask if I need income to live? Will they pay my bills? You want to keep my contract without giving me any income? You want to use my name even after I die, but not even my own son has rights over my name? So you want to use Wanderlei Silva to the end and not pay me anything for it? So I spilled all my blood for nothing.
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. 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? There’s so much wrong in all of this.
This is a new sport where the rules were dictated by the same people who are giving these contracts to the fighters to sign. This is not right at all, this is wrong. We can’t live under this kind of control.”
The UFC has been fairly easy-going in the past with releasing some fighters to go on to other opportunities, if they had no intentions or ability to fight for their organization anymore. A most recent example is Stephan Bonner, who fought in the main event of Bellator 131 against Tito Ortiz.
Perhaps the UFC were agitated with the multiple negative rants Wanderlei Silva has gone on towards them, since being banned for life by the NSAC for evading a random drug test. What could have also been a factor, was to not allow Bellator the extra star power to promote their card, which was one of their most successful ones in their history.
Regardless of the UFC’s motives, it will be interesting to see what happens in the future between for disgruntled Silva and the biggest MMA organization in the world.