Joe Silva explains UFC matchmaking in deposition excerpts

September 20, 2018

After a little bit away, MMA Payout takes a look at some of the depositions taken place in light of the Zuffa Antitrust lawsuit.  The depositions were attached to the motion papers in support of Zuffa’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

Joe Silva, former matchmaker for the UFC, was deposed regarding his role with the company.  The deposition took place in June 2017.

Exhibit 52 – Depo of Joe Silva by on Scribd

Silva was asked about the acquisition of Pride and whether after the acquisition did Zuffa have the vast majority of the world’s top fighters.  Silva stated, “I would say we had the most, but not all.”  He added, “As you see that even after the acquisition, we continued to bring in other fighters from other places in the world.  If we’d already acquired all the best fighters, then no more acquisitions would be necessary.”

Silva was asked about when a fighter may be ready for the UFC and the talented 155 division.

There is a back and forth regarding an email from Stipe Miocic’s ex-manager Greg Kalikas.  The email indicates Silva telling Kalikas: “Too many 170s under contract right now.  Keep Stipe winning and we’ll get him in.”

 

Silva explained, “…it was very important for us to not have too many people on the roster.  We wanted to be able to manage it.  We wanted to be able to fulfill all our contractual obligations, so you have to limit the amount of people that you sign at any one time.  So at this time, 170 was particularly full….To maintain a fight for a fighter who didn’t get injured, I will now go to other people on the roster, and go, hey, I’ve got a dropout, fight’s only two weeks away from now, can you do it.  And if they go, no, I can’t make weight in two weeks, I haven’t been training, I’ve got an injury, I go to everybody who is on the roster.  If nobody can do it, I still want to get a fight that other guys, so now that’s an opening…”

Silva testified about a “policy” he had in which he would not release a fighter if they had lost 2 in a row and then lost a third but the last match was taken on late notice.  He also stated that he “never put pressure on anybody to fight late notice…”

He also stated that he left contracts up to the legal department although he knew that they were revised through the years.

He was aware of the fact that there is a provision in Zuffa contracts that extend the terms of the contract if fighters turn down fights.

There is some criticism about former UFC fighter Melvin Guillard.  It was based on an email to Dana White which states, “In the press conference the day before he said he is an A level fighter fighting in a B level show.  Never was the smartest guy.”  Originally, plaintiffs’ attorney thought he was talking about Justin Gaethje.  But, it appears that there is some mistaken interpretation as Silva explains that Guillard was talking about World Series of Fighting.


There is a text where he makes fun of Bellator’s main event of Tito Ortiz versus Rampage Jackson.  He explains about a comment regarding Jackson criticizing Silva for putting him up against fighters with wrestling backgrounds.

He also points to the hypocrisy of Bellator which was tournament based but turned to Ortiz- Jackson to headline their show.

There is also an email show to Silva in which Monte Cox emails Silva about the potential to have one of his fighters on a UFC Winnipeg show.  Silva responds that he could not because “I have to cut a hundred guys.”  Obviously, Silva was exaggerating but he explained about the roster and at the time – March 2013 – he had “too many fighters under contract.”

Payout Perspective:

The deposition testimony reveals a little bit behind the thought making process of Silva as he made the bulk of the matches for the company until he left shortly after the sale of the UFC.  He came off as a reasonable individual and there was not much in testimony that presented red flags.  Plaintiffs’ counsel did discuss some controversial emails which Silva easily explained away.

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