Freelance: UFC to Lose Major Figure

The mixed martial arts world was rocked earlier this week with the news that the sport’s premiere organization will be losing its head matchmaker and vice president of talent relations Joe Silva, who has been with the UFC since the dark ages of the 1990s, by the end of 2016. While other sources have said Silva is “quitting”, he is more accurately retiring.

With Silva holding an executive position, his decision to step down comes on the heels of his company’s record-breaking $4 billion sale to William Morris Endeavor-International Management Group (WME-IMG) in July and receiving a portion of that profit. Neither Silva or the UFC have released a statement at this time, however, his speculated replacement is expected to be co-matchmaker Sean Shelby.

The two have been splitting booking since roughly 2012 with the introduction of the Flyweight (125 pounds) division. Shelby currently books the Women’s Strawweight (115 pounds) to Featherweight (145 pounds) division while Silva oversees Lightweight (155 pounds) to Heavyweight (265 pounds.)

Silva is leaving the promotion in favor of family time. Chamatkar Sandhu of Fighters Only magazine wrote, “His matchmaking prowess has played a significant role in the success of te Las Vegas-based outfit. However, his reluctancy to move his family to Nevada, instead working alone from his home in California, may not have sat too well with the new regime.”

Silva initially started out as a consultant to the original owners of the UFC, Semaphore Entertainment Group/ SEG Sports Corporation before rising to his long-time and still current role.