Brazilian MMA legend Wanderlei Silva announced his retirement from the sport after making an impassioned speech claiming that the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) does not respect nor take care of its athletes.
Silva, a 20-year MMA veteran and a former PRIDE champion, posted a Youtube video where he ripped the UFC for underpaying its athletes, disrespecting them, and forcing them to fight even when injured.
"Today is a very sad day for me. Unfortunately, this organization took away my desire to fight," Silva announced. "I can't do this anymore. I can't keep being treated this way."
"I am stepping down from the ring. Wanderlei Silva will not fight again; my career is over. This is because I don't have a stage to perform where athletes get the proper respect," he said.
Silva claimed that the UFC "doesn't respect athletes, they don't take care of athletes."
"They don't give anything to the athletes, only crumbs. This is a shameless lack of respect, but enough is enough," he said.
Silva cited the situation of former bantamweight champion Renan Barao, who fought three times in six months but was roundly criticized by UFC brass when he failed to make the weight for a rematch and passed out while cutting weight.
"What did the promoters do? They based him and mocked him. They were all proud to keep saying that Barao is going home without a dime. Is that the way to treat an athlete? And to be called a kid in the media?" said Silva.
"This causes revolt in the athletes. This revolted me," he added.
Silva also revealed that he was asked to fight in Brazil in a May 31 event but had to turn it down as his body was no longer responding.
"When a fighter can't train because of his injuries, he steps and gives a worse performance than expected. So what happens is that the promoters fire him," he pointed out.
"But no one stops to think about what the athlete has endured."
Silva last fought in the UFC on March 2013, knocking out Brian Stann in his return to the light-heavyweight division during a fight card held in his old stomping grounds in Japan. He retires with a record of 35 wins, 12 losses, one draw, and one no contest.