What’s the story?
Ahead of Anderson Silva’s meeting with Derek Brunson at UFC 208, the legendary martial artist in an interview with Brazilian outlet Combate News claimed the organisation under new ownership has turned the company into a more entertainment-driven venture rather than a legitimate martial arts venture.
Silva who is one of the most decorated fighters the sport has ever seen is gearing up for his forty-second bout against a young, upcoming star in Derek Brunson. The two will battle it out in the co-main event of UFC 208, Brooklyn, New York.
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The former UFC Middleweight Champion’s last fight in the Octagon was a loss to Daniel Cormier in the Light Heavyweight division at UFC 200. While his opponent Brunson is coming off a devasting first-round loss to Robert Whittaker.
The heart of the story
Silva explains the current predicament citing Jacare Souza as an example, stating that Souza deserved a title shot against Bisping in his next bout, although he is facing Tim Boetsch at UFC 208.
“It’s a company that is worried about entertainment. It’s not a company with a history of martial arts, the philosophy of the fight. That’s one of the reasons why ‘Jacare’ is not fighting for the title because, for them, it’s not something profitable, that will bring the entertainment they need.”
The 41-year-old Silva believes the company’s approach to handling business, since the Fertitta brothers’ sale of the company to entertainment powerheads WME, has resulted in the UFC taking an entertainment-driven approach in order to take the sport to new heights.
Silva states in the interview that he is worried about the new owners as he claims they are only worried about entertainment.
“This is what they did their entire lives, work with entertainment. We have to understand that. It’s hard because we think about the martial arts, what is correct. For the show, some fights make sense and others don’t. They end up losing some fans but gain some. I think they are trying to make it more entertainment and-and less martial arts.”
Silva believes that MMA is becoming less of a sport and more of entertainment, as he gears up for one of his last outings in the cage. However, the point Silva makes is an interesting one, as a lot of fighters will be affected by a completely entertainment driven approach.
With WME spear-heading MMA’s stride to markets around the world, the UFC’s notion of being the fairest, the toughest and ultimate fighting promotion in the sport could take a hit, with more fighters questioning the running of the company by the new owners.
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