Anderson Silva, former UFC Middleweight champion and UFC Hall of Famer is in talks with the world’s only publicly traded MMA promotion, XFC. XFC made headlines several weeks ago when it offered Silva shares after his loss to #10 ranked UFC middleweight contender Uriah Hall and the subsequent announcement that he would no longer be fighting for the UFC.
We spoke to XFC president Myron Molotky as he talks about the possible directions talks are taking with Anderson Silva as the legendary “Spider” ponders his options.
Legacy of the Spider
Molotky was particularly enthusiastic about the respect Silva inspires in the XFC roster. “We had a quick conversation, Jen Wenk who’s handling a lot of our PR connected with Anderson Silva, we had a conversation leading up to the event [XFC 43]. He watched it, even, and was immediately on facetime with us when we got settled back at the hotel, and we had the opportunity to pass the phone around to a few different fighters, and everyone was blown away – ‘it’s Anderson Silva!’ I went into the room and held the phone up and everyone shouted their love for Anderson. It really topped off what was a great night for us. ”
Fighter to Manager?
Molotky makes it clear that the door is open for Silva not just with regards to fighting but also the possibility of a managerial role in the XFC organization instead.
“So we’re talking to Anderson in a variety of different levels, what are his next steps – and it really comes down to what he wants to do. Does he want to be involved in MMA moving forward? We believe he does, based on everything that he’s said, and we’d like to create some opportunities for him to do that with the XFC.”
“We really threw out a couple of different ideas for him, and I think that’s something he’s going to spend some time thinking about, making different decisions on where he’s going to go. We’re pretty wide open with Anderson. He’s not just in my opinion the greatest mixed martial artist who’s ever existed, he offers so much more – more than just coming in as an XFC ambassador, we don’t want to have him on the sidelines, we want him to be deeply involved.”
This is something out of respect for him, he’s got to make some calls, as to what direction he’d want to go.”
“If he’d like to come and enter the Hexagon as a fighter, that’s what the role would be until he’s not fighting anymore.”
He drew comparisons to other fighters that XFC had signed.
“Jessica Aguilar – we signed Jessica not just because of what she’s capable of doing inside the hexagon but also what she can do outside the hexagon, as a brand ambassador. But she also has dreams and goals of doing commentating, sideline reporting, things like that on events where she’s not fighting. A hybrid like that would make sense, and it’d make sense for Silva as well.”
The Appeal of XFC
Molotky went into detail about why Silva would be incentivized to choose the XFC over potential competition.
“The simple part is ownership, right? That’s the easiest answer. When Anderson comes aboard XFC, he’s going to come aboard as an owner in XFC. And depending on what route we choose to go, he can expand that ownership over time as well. Ownership is always going to be key with XFC being a publically traded company and the ability to create this ownership value proposition.
“The other thing is to do with our success in Brazil in the past. Anderson knows this, Anderson I think really has a lot of respect for XFC because of what we were able to do in his country, in Brazil. I think there’s going to be a lot of thought with him – what we’ve done in Brazil and what XFC could mean in Brazil again.”
On Friday morning, it was reported by Drake Riggs of MyMMANews.com that Rizin FF President Nobuyuki Sakakibara had an interest in signing the free agent. Well, Molotky made it crystal clear that their business model is much different from the Japanese promotion.
“The last thing is our business model. No one has a business model like ours. At RIZIN they do a good job, they put on a lot of great fights, they generate a lot of excitement about what they do. But their business model’s not like the XFC’s. We have a development league. We have a tournament that determines the grit and determination of our fighters to get to the super-fight series. When you combine the ownership, the history, and where we’re going, and what our model is, I think the XFC is a no-brainer for him.”
Anderson Silva: Should he retire?
Molotky is undeterred by comments from the owners of some other MMA promotions like Bellator, PFL, and ONE that Silva should retire.
“That’s something that he has to make the call. Anderson is at the point in his career where he has earned the right to make these sorts of decisions. Ray Sefo, at PFL, saying he’s not interested? Come on Ray! (chuckles) Sure. Scott [Coker], Scott’s done so many exploratory entertainment fights over the years… I’m don’t know if this is the result of Anderson saying he’s not interested, and they’re jumping the gun to basically cover their own ass? I would find it ridiculous, for anyone to say they’re not interested.”
Anderson Silva: Fighting in XFC?
He went on to say that they would make sure that Silva if he did want to fight for them, would be fighting quality opposition. “We’re not interested in just matching him up just to get him a fight. We’re interested in something explosive that plays to his strengths and also his opponent’s. Because what we want is to showcase fireworks in the hexagon, a great fight. The common thinking might be “let’s find Anderson a layup”. But that’s not what he would want. Knowing everything I know about him, I think he wants to be challenged inside the hexagon if that was a route where he would go. I don’t have anyone specific in mind at this point, because we haven’t crossed that bridge.”
Whether Silva takes up XFC on any of their offers or not, this multivariate approach to offering an aging legend a choice of roles may set a positive precedent for other MMA organizations in the future.