Joe Silva: Worst part of the job is firing fighters


Some roles in MMA are meant to be larger than life, like world champion, or, say, UFC president Dana White. Some roles are supposed to be nearly invisible - the best referee for example is one so skilled he is not noticed.

UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby (Shelby does the 145 and under fighters of both sexes, Silva does the rest) are lifelong martial artists, and rank #2 on MMA Junkie mags 25 Most Powerful People in MMA list. However, you hear little in the media from or about Shelby, and less still from Silva. That just changed with this tremendous, must-read profile by MMAJunkie's Ben Fowlkes, very briefly excerpted below.

The job, in a nut shell

"The thing is, there's so many different combinations of styles and martial arts, you really don't know," Silva said. "Some fights you think will be boring, they turn out to be 'Fight of the Night.' Some fights you think will be good turn out to be boring. Our thing is, are we creating legitimate contenders?"

As Shelby put it, the job of the matchmakers is "to bring challengers to the champion."

Worst part of the job - Firing fighters

"That's the worst," said Silva. "It's the absolute worst. I've almost quit this job multiple times because of that. People have broken down and cried."

"Dana's Captain Kirk, and we're Scotty. Dana's always asking for crazy, impossible stuff, and we're going, 'Captain, we can't go any faster!' He's the one saying, 'Dammit Scotty, make it happen!'"

"If everybody only took fights that they thought they had a really good chance of winning, nobody would ever fight. When you look at the odds, they almost always favor someone, even if they end up being wrong. But if you're in the UFC, you're here to fight who I have. If you're going, 'I don't think I can beat that guy,' then maybe you should be doing something else."

"I really don't consider myself a mean person at all, but I am very honest. I won't lie, and I put things very straight. And fighters, they have a lot of buffers around them, sort of 'atta boy' guys. They're not used to someone telling them, 'No, this is how it is.'"

Parting advice to managers

"You cannot find a single fighter ever in UFC history who will say that they told me they were injured and I gave them s--- about it," said Silva. "Not ever. ... The only time I've ever yelled, and I have done this, but you'd be shocked how many times I get a call where they say, 'Hey, sorry, but he's got to pull out of the fight. Two weeks ago he really messed up his knee.' It's like, really? Two weeks ago? Why didn't you tell me then? I wouldn't have pulled him from the fight, but I could have started thinking about a replacement. It's always, 'Oh, but we thought he'd be OK.' You thought wrong. And you thinking wrong screwed the show, screwed me, screwed his opponent. Don't think. If he's got a hangnail, just let me know."

Read entire article...


tags: UFC   Sean Shelby   Joe Silva   

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Recent Comments »

Injury_Duty site profile image  

8/24/13 11:55 PM by Injury_Duty


ohpossum site profile image  

8/24/13 11:47 PM by ohpossum

Great read? Yes it was.Using ben's style there

TheGoldenRule site profile image  

8/24/13 8:30 PM by TheGoldenRule


jman site profile image  

8/24/13 8:24 PM by jman

Great article man, thanks!

slamming site profile image  

8/24/13 8:02 PM by slamming


Edgar Garcia site profile image  

8/23/13 6:56 PM by Edgar Garcia

I liked that story. I worked with Sean in WEC and Joe in UFC and both guys were really cool to me and my team. good guys

IowaHawkeyes420 site profile image  

8/23/13 6:45 PM by IowaHawkeyes420

In for later

notsobigmike site profile image  

8/23/13 4:50 PM by notsobigmike

No, I was talking about the lower tier guys.If you're a new guy who's 1-1 in the UFC, you're looking at a potential pink slip after your next fight, regardless. You're better off stepping up on short notice if it comes your way and earning some goodwill (and likely some extra cash).

Shoulda done a background check on Chael site profile image  

8/23/13 3:37 PM by Shoulda done a background check on Chael

True, you run the risk of taking a loss and getting cut because you're expendable, but that could happen after any fight. Better off taking the chances when they come.   That negates everything above what you wrote. "But that could happen after any fight", that is not correct.  Are you saying if Jose Aldo loses his next fight, he could be cut? Of course not. Guys who have headlined a pay per view, guys who have been in the game for a while, they don't risk getting cut by losing a short notice fight. Lower end guys do. 

ziggystardust site profile image  

8/23/13 2:27 PM by ziggystardust