Earlier this year, it was announced that long-time UFC matchmaker Joe Silva would be parting ways with the organization in December. Given the near endless list of incredible fights Silva has constructed for the fans over the years, this news was met with widespread disappointment.
Not everyone, however, will miss the long-time matchmaker.
In a recent interview on Bloody Elbow’s The MMA Circus, former UFC lightweight Mehdi Baghdad explained that his release from the organization was the result of his refusal to fight injured. Apparently, he was given a simple choice by Silva: fight injured, or get fired. He was given this choice when he sustained an abdominal hernia in the buildup to a fight with John Tuck, which was scheduled for the UFC’s cancelled card in Manila.
“I was in emergency the night before I gave the bad news that I had to pull out,” Baghdad said. “I called my manager, my manager called Joe Silva. And Joe Silva just answered back like, ‘You need to pull out? We cut you.’ And my manager said, ‘Come on, man, you can’t do that! The doctor said that he has to do surgery; he can’t fight. And then he force himself to fight? He can’t! He has to do surgery.’ So my manager let me know. ‘They need you to go fight, or you are fired.’”
“So I said, ‘So let me choose in my head. I’m fired from UFC, or I’m f*cked up from fighting, because I can have a big problem if I fight with my hernia.’ I get the choice — my health is the first choice, I’m not going to fight with the hernia when the doctor told me I can’t.”
“It’s not just because I’m a little bit hurt here or somewhere. I had surgery last week, he opened my abdomen. It’s not something I tried to lie, so I don’t know, I don’t understand.”
Baghdad went on to explain that this was probably the result of Silva’s ego.
“I think it’s just the ego of Joe Silva,” he said. “He just said, ‘If you no get this fight, if you pull out, we fire you.’ That’s why, three weeks later, I got this letter, you fired from UFC,” he said. “It’s not about you can come back one more or two more fights, it’s not about this. He told me nothing about I come back.
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