The MMA world was shocked this week when it was revealed that longtime UFC matchmaker Joe Silva would be resigning in the near future. Silva’s departure is a blow to the organization as Silva is one of its longest tenured employees, having been with the company since the days of Campbell MacLaren ruling the roost. That leaves the latest WME-IMG sports property in a bit of a bind, as the fight-making Napoleon did the work of multiple people. This means that the UFC will likely need to hire at least two or three people to assist the remaining Sean Shelby — similar to when Burt Watson left the UFC last year.
With the help of my colleagues here at MMASucka.com, I’ve assembled a list of potential candidates the UFC can draw from. So, without further ado, here we go.
The Candidates to Replace Joe Silva:
#1) Julie Kedzie – Julie Kedzie is one of the few people on this list with explicit matchmaking making experience. The one-time “Fireball” has shown her skills with Invicta FC and has a knack for putting together fun bouts even with the ever-present threat of the UFC poaching talent hanging over her head. While recruiting her from Invicta would be a blow to the women’s organization, it would all be moot if they were bought out and the UFC brought in my second candidate, as well.
#2) Shannon Knapp – Another veteran hand from behind the scenes, Invicta president Shannon Knapp is on good terms with the UFC. There has always been talk of the leading women’s promotion being swallowed up by the Zuffa behemoth, and that would need to happen in order for Knapp to be brought on board. Still, it wouldn’t be a bad option as it would allow the UFC to instantaneously add the remaining weight classes to the women’s division that fans have been clamoring for.
#3) Josh Barnett – Josh Barnett, the first active competitor on the list, would be forced to either book the divisions he is not involved in or retire from the cage. With a keen mind for MMA, Barnett would be able to match competitors up with ease, and would likely be able to handle the paperwork, as well.
#4) Roy Nelson – “Big Country,” the other active fighter on the list, has already taken the opportunity to throw his hat into this particular cage. While Nelson takes great pains to appear as but a common man, the brawling and unkempt mullet mask an under-estimated intellect. He’s certainly a dark-horse candidate.
#5) Brian Stann – While I, personally, would like to see Brian Stann move on to even bigger things, it’s easy to see that he’s qualified for a role in the UFC’s booking office. With a knack for research and the ability to oversee large organizations, the combat veteran would likely be more than up to the task of both booking fights and managing contracts.
#6) Joe Rogan – Joe Rogan may be a long shot, as he has already begun stepping away from his commentary duties with the UFC. Still, if you can ignite Joe’s passion – and provide him micro-doses of DMT and psilocybin – there is little doubt he can make it work on the booking end. That said, he would still likely need an assistant to handle the contractual end of things.
#7) Eddie Bravo – Venturing far into the left field, somewhere just east of Nibiru, comes this option. The 10th Planet guru has shown himself capable of making matches with the Eddie Bravo Invitational grappling tournaments. That said, Bravo’s anti-corporate approach and tendency to use teenagers in an effort to pad out cards could be problematic.
The UFC has many great options to step into the matchmaking office to replace Joe Silva and assist Sean Shelby. Whether or not those options are up to the task is another thing, entirely. I hope this list may be of assistance if anyone in the corporate office so happens to read it. If nothing else, I hope it generates discussion among you guys — the fans.