Anderson Silva is arguably the greatest champion in UFC history. Yet certain responsibilities come along with the title and if the champion isn’t meeting those obligations it is time for the UFC to strip him of his title and take their championship back.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]As big of a fan as I am of Silva, his lack of respect for the UFC and its fighters as middleweight champion has grown out of control. I certainly understand that someone like Silva should have more flexibility and perks than almost any other UFC fighter sans GSP. I certainly understand that the UFC would feel obliged to give Silva as much of a vacation as he wants between fights. But at some point this is a business and Anderson Silva has taken this business hostage long enough.
The Spider revealed his next steps as a fighter in an interview with Tatame.com this week and it was at that point where I think the UFC was given the green light to take action. Silva was asked about his intentions of going to UFC 154 and when he planned to fight next. His answer was a bit surprising to everyone.
“I’m on vacation for the fight. I think we just come back at the end of next year … I’m going to Los Angeles and then going to Canada for the fight of St. Pierre. I’m already going to be there to shoot a movie, a feature film that I’ll participate in with Lyoto (Machida). It’s not my character to up and challenge anyone. I think it will not happen. I think not, I’m sure (laughs).”
This has already sent one of the UFC’s top middleweight contenders Michael Bisping into a rant with Bisping asking the UFC to strip Silva and determine an interim UFC middleweight title. Bisping sent a tweet to UFC president Dana White asking for the fight.
“If Anderson wants to take time off to be a movie star make me and vitor for the interim title????”
The UFC has come to a crossroads with Silva. Silva is now at a point in his career where he is interested more in big money fights and unfortunately they aren’t in the middleweight division. Silva and his camp have publicly criticized the top contenders for not being marketable names. Silva is targeting Georges St-Pierre along with a possible megafight against Jon Jones. At that point the championship would be put on hold for over a year if not more. It would be three fights since he defended the title if his master plan plays out, thus the time is now for the UFC to take action.
The biggest problem here is that Anderson Silva wants it both ways. He wants these bigger fights in lieu of them being out of the division while wanting to retire as undefeated UFC middleweight champion. Unfortunately that legacy doesn’t mean a whole lot if he is retiring undefeated as champion after not defending the belt in over a year, maybe two by that point. For the good of the sport Silva should voluntarily vacate the title. That doesn’t appear to be in the plans. The ball is now in the UFC’s court.
Of course the UFC risks creating a rift with its biggest star and the timing couldn’t be worse for the company. Silva has all of the cards right now. The UFC would love to book a Silva vs. Jones fight and they have to keep their champion happy until that happens. At the same time they have an entire division of fighters that are working their butts off with no chance of a title shot in sight. The shelf life of an elite fighter is small and keeping these fighters from their rightful title fights is wrong. Something has to give!
The catch here is that Anderson could play the UFC’s bluff. What if Dana threatens to strip Anderson of the title and Anderson agrees to defend the title. The UFC wins by getting their champion back in the division but loses millions of dollars by pulling him away from superfights against GSP and Jon Jones. It really is a no-win situation for the UFC. Yet for the good of the entire company they need to play hardball.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]Dana White is anything but a coward. He owes it to his fighters to step up to Anderson Silva and help his champion understand that he would be doing more for his legacy by relinquishing the title as opposed to holding his title hostage. There is nothing wrong with wanting these superfights and Silva has certainly earned them. As a fan I’d much rather watch Silva vs. Jones than Silva vs. Weidman, but what is fair is fair, and there are plenty of fighters in the middleweight division that have earned their opportunity at the title.
It’s time to take the title back!
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