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Longtime matchmaker Joe Silva set to leave the UFC

When the sale of the UFC to WME-IMG went down, it was assumed that big changes would be made. Looks like things are changing sooner rather than later. The first domino has fallen: It was announced that longtime UFC matchmaker Joe Silva will retire following the sale at the end of the year. MMA Junkie initially reported the news, while MMA Fighting later confirmed it.


The UFC sale is set to provide Silva with a fair amount of financial gain, one of the main reasons for the departure. For 21 years, Joe Silva has been the one consistent thing in the UFC. As VP Talent Relations/Matchmaker for the UFC, Silva generally stayed under the radar. He was a quiet man in a loud sport. He was always a respected individual inside and out of the octagon. Silva was a primary contact to fighters as matches were announced for the PPV events. MMA Junkie shared a video of current fighters who were shocked to find out about the news.

The replacement for Silva does not seem like a tough choice. Sean Shelby has been by Silva’s side for many years, handling matchmaker duties for the featherweight division, among other divisions. If Shelby does not follow Silva’s lead out of the company, it is presumed that he will take over role as matchmaker.

When Silva first appeared in the UFC, nobody had a clue where it would be today. After several years of great fights and a $4 billion price tag, it’s safe to say that Joe Silva helped launch the UFC into the stratosphere. While many credit Dana White for the company’s success, it was Silva who helped “call the shots” on the sidelines. In all honesty, I think Silva is perfectly content staying away from the spotlight.

It truly is an end of an era for the pre-Zuffa period of the UFC. Time will only tell if more major changes are to be made. One thing is for sure: there will never be another man quite like Mr. Joe Silva.

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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