Joe Silva to be inducted into UFC Hall of Fame

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Since a very young age Joe Silva took interest in combat sports – he grew up training boxing, kickboxing and was a varsity wrestler. He was upset with the state of martial arts before UFC, and when he heard about UFC 1, was excited to see a real competition.

From the very first event, he saw flaws that would hurt the sport as it progressed. He started at UFC 2 and has been with the organization ever since.

When ZUFFA acquired the UFC from SEG, Silva was one of the few employees kept on, and became by many accounts the second most powerful person in the sport. When the number of divisions and fighters increased, Sean Shelby, who had been matchmaking for the WEC, eventually took over the UFC featherweight down divisions, for men and women.

Silva’s decades of service were rewarded with a small amount of equity in the league, and when it sold for over $4,000,000,000, that small amount ended up being reportedly worth far enough into seven figures for Silva to retire and spend more time with his family.

It is little appreciated, but matchmaking at the highest level is a brutal job. The travel is brutal. Playing guidance counselor to hundreds of professional fighters is brutal. And firing fighters is terribly, terribly sad.

“That’s the worst,” said Silva in 2013. “It’s the absolute worst. I’ve almost quit this job multiple times because of that. People have broken down and cried.”


In a sport with an overwhelming number of large egos, Silva put zero effort into building his name, and all of his effort into the sport itself, literally making the fights that define it – all of them.


Respected by all, Joe Silva stands alone – no one had as large an influence on the sport for as long.