Brazilian legend wins for third time in five years
Beyond needing one to keep from any further potential damage to his legacy, he needed one, probably, just to keep his job. Silva’s boss, UFC president Dana White, had not been shy about saying the legendary middleweight should probably hang up the gloves if he lost to Cung Le – and if Silva didn’t retire on his own, the likelihood that White would retire Silva for him was high.
But with a second-round TKO win over Le in the co-main event Saturday, Silva (34-11-1, 1 NC, 4-6 UFC) avoided the “retire now” talk, staving it off for at least one more fight.
But after the post-fight press conference Saturday in San Jose, Calif., White defended his stance on preferring to see a fighter like Silva walk away – same as he preferred for Chuck Liddell last year.
“I just don’t want to see anyone hurt – that’s all I care about,” White told a small group of reporters. “When you get to a point – and in my opinion, I’m no doctor – you start getting knocked out on a regular (basis), that’s it. I don’t want to see that any more. I don’t want to see it.”
White said his opinion has nothing to do with what he thinks of Silva as a fighter. But with four knockouts in his last six losses over the past five years, he’d prefer to see one of the sport’s all-time heroes still able to sensibly talk about his fighting days years from now.
“Wanderlei’s a warrior – he’s been around forever and people love him,” White said. “I love him – he’s been great to (the UFC) and to the sport, and I’m not going to have that stuff happen. People can disagree with me or whatever, but go start your own organization. I’m not doing that. I don’t want to see these guys around past their prime.”
Asked if he thought Silva understood his opinion, even before the upset win over Le, White said he believes that he did – and that if Silva chose to retire now, even without being pushed out the door, he’d be all for it.
“I think he’s gets it,” White said. “I’ve been very clear and open and honest about it. He looked good (Saturday). I’d be cool with (him walking away after the win), too. I would never try to talk somebody out of retirement. Never, ever, ever would I do that. Nope.”