UFC legend Anderson Silva may have opened a door to immense post-retirement riches last Saturday night when he took an eight-round split decision from Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the co-feature of the “Tribute to the Kings” pay-per-view at Estadio Jalisco in Mexico.
The Brazilian former UFC middleweight champ, who holds the UFC record for most defenses and longest title reign, looked sharp and skilled in outboxing and out-hustling the often less-than-prepared son of Mexican Legend, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.
The win would serve as an embarrassment to the Chavez family and, possibly, an end to Julio Jr.’s disappointing professional career. But, for the 46-year-old Silva, it could serve as the prelude to a secondary career that may turn out to be more lucrative than his prime run through the UFC ranks.
According to multiple reports, Silva was guaranteed to make anywhere from $500,000 and $1 million for facing Chavez Jr., plus a percentage of the pay-per-view revenue. He also took home an additional $100,000 forfeited to him by Chavez Jr. when the Mexican failed to make the contracted 182 lb. weight. But even without PPV revenue and the $100K penalty money, Silva’s purse at $500K was greater than most he got in the UFC, which, at the highest end, generally topped out at the $600-$650K mark (except for his UFC 208 payout, which added up to $820,000 after purse, bonus, and sponsorship money).
One has to wonder whether the Hall of Fame mixed martial artist has been second guessing his career choices when it comes to sports.
But, regardless, he’s in a good spot right now, bursting into the growing exhibition/celebrity boxing scene that very well may be a fad, but one which is proving itself to be a very lucrative endeavor for those with the name value to cash in.
Silva has mostly been coy about his fighting future at 46, telling media after the Chavez bout:
“Now, I go back to my home and my son has a fight very soon, a kickboxing fight and I’ll go help my son. Maybe I fight jiu-jitsu, maybe I fight gi or no-gi, maybe I have next boxing fight. I don’t know. Right now, my focus is helping my son.”
At the same time, though, he seems very much aware of how much money there might be out there and who, currently, are accessible cash cows for this new branch of the boxing business– YouTubers Jake and Logan Paul.
“I have a great relationship with both brothers, and yeah, I think this is possible, too,” Silva said. “That’s entertaining. It’s a fight, but it’s entertaining. Logan and his brother are amazing guys.
“The people like to talk a lot about the guys, but they’re very good people. I respect both, and I respect the sport. I think everything’s possible.
“I think the next fight may be with Logan Paul, maybe.”
The 26-year-old Logan Paul recently fought an eight-round exhibition against Floyd Mayweather. Official purse information was not published for this fight and info about the paydays has been all over the place. However, the most reliable reports have Paul making a guaranteed $250,000, plus a percentage of the pay-per-view money with Mayweather making a guaranteed $10 million and a larger chunk of the PPV money. The event generated more than 1 million buys at $49.99 a pop and, according to some, Paul could’ve conceivably made up to $10 million dollars for his work.
Younger Paul brother Jake, meanwhile, made $690,000 for his April 17 bout with retired MMA fighter, Ben Askren, although he has boasted of making considerably more.
Any way you slice it, though, there’s serious money to be had in the exhibition/celebrity boxing sub niche and Silva has the name and the talent to grasp at some big dollars. Toss his name into the hat full of retired UFC fighters, boxers, mainstream sports athletes, and celebrities looking to mix it up in a boxing ring for the amusement of fans.
Later, however, we should all have a talk about the UFC’s comparatively awful payouts and why a legend like Silva is capable of making more money retired, in the boxing ring, than he did in his history-making prime.