Former Matchmaker Joe Silva to Be Inducted into UFC Hall of Fame ‘Contributor’ Wing

By Tristen Critchfield May 13, 2017
Joe Silva will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame less than a year after his retirement as the promotion’s lead matchmaker.

It was announced during the UFC 211 pay-per-view broadcast that Silva will be enshrined in the “Contributor” wing during a ceremony on July 6 during International Fight Week in Las Vegas. The “Contributor” wing honors anyone who has made a significant contribution to the sport beyond fighting and can include referees, judges, trainers, commissioners, announcers and promoters.

Silva joins Jeff Blatnick, Bob Meyrowitz and Charles “Mask” Lewis in the UFC’s “Contributor” wing. Urijah Faber and Maurice Smith will also be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame on July 6.

“Joe Silva is the greatest matchmaker in the history of any combat sport,” UFC President Dana White said in a release. “Period.”

Silva began his UFC tenure before the company was purchased by Zuffa in 2001 when he answered an ad taken out by previous owner Semaphore Entertainment Group in “Black Belt Magazine.” Over the course of more than years in the organization, Silva’s role gradually became more prominent as he progressed from advisor to full-time employee.

While Silva is best known as the guy who booked matchups for fighters from 155 pounds to heavyweight during his tenure with the Las Vegas-based promotion, he also collaborated with Blatnick and referee “Big” John McCarthy to develop the first UFC rulebook, which later became the basis for the Unified Rules of MMA.

Additionally, Silva was part of a team that created the format and selected the competitors for the inaugural season of groundbreaking “Ultimate Fighter” series. According to the release, Silva “was responsible for strategically negotiating more than 3,000 bouts across 340 events worldwide.”

Rumors of Silva’s retirement began shortly after Zuffa sold the UFC to William Morris Endeavor and International Management Group last summer for more than $4 billion. Silva’s officially stepped down as senior vice president of talent relations at the end of 2016. As a result, Sean Shelby was promoted to Silva’s old position and former Legacy Fighting Championship owner and president Mick Maynard was hired as vice president of talent relations.

“To have been a part of the UFC from its early days and to see the heights to which it has risen has been amazing,” Silva said. “The martial arts have been my passion since I was a kid, and to have been a part of the sport that has impacted them so much was a wonderful experience. To be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame is a great honor and caps off what has been a wonderful journey.”

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