The times they are a changin’. Longtime UFC matchmaker and vice president of talent relations Joe Silva (pictured) will be leaving the company following the UFC’s record-setting $4 billion sale to an investment group led by WME-IMG.
MMAJunkie.com first reported Silva’s departure Wednesday, which several other MMA outlets have since confirmed. The UFC has not released an official statement regarding Silva’s impending retirement.
As a UFC executive, it is believed Silva walked away with a nice check after the UFC’s sale to WME-IMG was finalized earlier this month. It is being reported that the lucrative payday and desire to spend more time with his family, and not any ill will, is the primary reason for his departure.
No word on when Silva’s last day of work will be, but it is expected to be before the end of 2016.
Silva has been with the UFC for 21 years, first coming on board with the UFC’s original owners SEG. After Zuffa, LLC acquired the UFC in 2001, Silva was one of the few employees retained.
Silva is small in stature, but extremely large in power. Despite his size, he was very imposing and intimidated man. He did most of his work behind the scenes. Fans only caught a glimpse of Silva when he would stand off on the side during weigh-ins or when he would be the first to enter the cage to congratulate a victorious fighter.
Silva’s primary role was to arrange compelling matches for fans to enjoy, as well as watch the bottom line when it comes to fighter pay. After the UFC swallowed the WEC in 2010, WEC matchmaker Sean Shelby took over the UFC’s matchmaking duties for the featherweight division and below, as well as the women, while Silva handled the lightweights and above.
It is unknown what Shelby’s fate with the UFC is, but if he remains it would be safe to assume his responsibilities will increase following Silva’s exit.