After more than 20 years with the company, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva is expected to vacate his position.
MMAWeekly.com sources confirmed Silva’s planned exit, following an initial report by MMAJunkie.com.
Though he’s never commanded the spotlight, a la UFC president Dana White, Silva has been a key cog in the UFC machine. He has overseen matchmaking duties for the past couple of decades, well before White or Frank and Lorenzo Feritta entered the picture.
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Silva took on a consulting role with the UFC’s original ownership, SEG, around the time of UFC 3. Yes, UFC 3. That was back in the day of eight-man one-night tournaments, style vs. style, and fighters like Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Kimo Leopoldo, and Keith Hackney ruled the roost.
Silva has been there from the “one man enters, but only one man leaves” days through the transition to becoming a legitimate sport, including sanctioning in all 50 states in the U.S. He’s largely responsible for the thousands of matches that led to legitimacy.
The move comes after the UFC’s recent $4 billion sale to WME|IMG.
For the past several years, Silva oversaw matchmaking operations with Sean Shelby at his side. Shelby’s focus has largely been on the lighter weight classes, primarily at featherweight and lower, including the women’s divisions. With Silva moving out, it is believed that Shelby will take the reigns as the promotion’s primary matchmaker.
Neither the UFC nor Silva had made a formal announcement about the move as of the time of publication.
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