Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva says the “UFC changed” when it was sold by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta.
The Fertitta brothers sold their majority stakes in the company to WME-IMG in 2016 for a massive $4 billion.
Silva, who ruled over the middleweight division for many years prior to that sale, says things changed when the ownership changed hands—and not in a good way.
“I think the UFC changed for me when Lorenzo came out,” Silva told MMA Junkie this week. “Lorenzo tried to put inside the UFC the big family, and right now it’s completely different, but I continue to fight inside the UFC because I have a lot of friends, and I feel the same family. But, yeah, of course it’s changed a lot when Lorenzo is not inside.
“I think Lorenzo and the Fertitta brothers, who (were) the owners of the UFC, the relationship with fighters was more close, especially for me,” Silva added. “I love Dana (White), but Lorenzo and his brother (were) very close to the fighters and tried to make the UFC fighters part of the UFC family.”
Anderson Silva is set to return to the cage opposite fellow striking specialist Uriah Hall in the main event of UFC Vegas 12 this Saturday night. The bout will be the last of his illustrious MMA career.
“This is the last fight,” Silva told MMA Junkie. “For sure, this is the last fight. Probably. I love the sport. I’ve prepared my mind for this. I’ve prepared for fight my entire life, but yes, this is my last fight in UFC.”
Silva ruled over the UFC middleweight division from 2006 to 2013. During that time, he defended his title against the likes of Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt, Dan Henderson, Patrick Cote, Thales Leites, Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen (twice), Vitor Belfort, and Yushin Okami. He also picked up light heavyweight wins over James Irvin, Forrest Griffin, and Stephan Bonnar.
More recently, Silva has fallen on hard times. The legend is 1-6 in his last seven fights, sandwiching a close decision win over Derek Brunson between losses to Chris Weidman (twice), Michael Bisping, Daniel Cormier, Israel Adesanya, and Jared Cannonier.