UFC President Dana White is the most powerful man in mixed martial arts. White is a larger than life figure, at least as famous as the organization’s top fighters.
However, just below White, or perhaps above in terms of what you see on the television screen, is UFC Vice President for Talent Relations Joe Silva, who was with the UFC long before White and Fertitta brothers acquired it. As matchmaker and chief talent scout, Silva decides who gets signed, who stays and who gets cut.
Although he maintains a low profile, Silva possesses an unsurpassed passion for the sport.
When the UFC sold for more than $4,000,000,000, as part of upper management, Silva reportedly received compensation such that he felt he could retire early. Given 20 years of a travel schedule that is beyond grueling, and working for the Las Vegas based UFC from his home in Virginia, Joe Silva, has earned it, many times over.
Still, it is sad to see one of the few remaining threads connecting the new WME-IMG UFC to the original SEG era. The new ownership undoubtedly has the resources to drive the UFC and the sport, to far higher heights. Still, nothing is free. Some things necessarily are lost. One of those is apparently Joe Silva’s extraordinary efforts. They are irreplacable, and will be missed mightily.
Former WEC matchmaker Sean Shelby has been very ably handling UFC matchmaker duties for featherweight and below (men and women’s divisions). He will presumably have a much expanded role going forward.
While neither Silva nor the UFC have released an official statement on the matter, the confirmation from the well-connected Helwani can be taken as with near certainty.