Unlike the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s president Dana White, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva has never really liked the concept of friends fighting friends inside the cage. And he had a few things to say about the subject in a recent interview.
“It’s funny to say that, right? If that was the case, I would like to ask him if he’d like to split the UFC with Lorenzo, each would have their own show fighting for audience and sponsorship and everything else that involves their business,” Silva said about White’s stance that friends should be willing to fight one another. “They’re friends, partners… What I think is that friends shouldn’t fight. Dana doesn’t fight. He sells well the fight, he’s a good promoter, but he isn’t a fighter. I have nothing against Dana, I admire him, but he doesn’t know what this is, and he can’t say that two friends should fight. We spend more time together than with our own families. We share the pains, the frustrations, and just because he wants to sell a fight that he thinks it would be cool and that the public would like to see two companions fighting. He wants to match a fight with two friends? That’s impossible, it only happens with people who aren’t real friends. We have a philosophy in our team that, regardless of two being from the same weight class and the same objective of being UFC Champions, we know that this won’t happen. MMA is not a collective sport. It’s not normal for me to fight a guy that I live with everyday. It’s natural to him, because he doesn’t fight and hasn’t even got pinched once.”
While I do think it’s sometimes necessary for friends to fight in MMA, I do understand where Silva is coming from. As a BJJ practitioner, my training routine is nowhere near as intense as that of a professional MMA fighter, yet, I typically spend at least two hours a day, five days a week, with my training partners (and that’s just my BJJ training).
The bonds that develop between teammates over the years are pretty strong, and I personally can’t see myself getting into a cage, trying to inflict serious harm on one of my close training partners.