The heroes of the UFC might not be the men and women you see in the Octagon, fighting for our entertainment and awe, but there are heroes behind the scenes: great men with white boards and dry erase markers. When a fighter pulls out or gets pulled from a fight, they're not on Twitter flaming, they have to scrub the board, make some calls and start over. One of those men is Joe Silva.
Silva is stepping down as the UFC's matchmaker. He has been with the company since before the Zuffa era, putting together at least half of the fights that come together. As the UFC's Lightweight to Heavyweight chess master, Silva has put together over two decades of fighter match-ups, and sometimes he managed to entertain us himself.
With his dynamic, cage-side reactions, Silva is always a guy you want to zoom in on when something crazy happens. So, in honor of Silva's departure, here are our best Silva Cam moments.
UFC on Fox 13: John Moraga v.s. Willie Gates
After John Moraga thought he suffered another low blow, he was waiting for the referee to make a stop in the action. Moraga was so confident in his assumption, that he strolled away, casually adjusting himself while Willie Gates decided to keep on fighting. The problem was that the ref never stopped the fight, and Gates didn't stop his killer right hand. Joe Silva agreed with the decision. The Silva Cam caught you slippin'.
UFC 116: Gerald Harris v.s. David Branch
Timber! Slam knockouts are always crazy. Gerald Harris basically pulled off a Pro Wrestling "Spinebuster", but followed David Branch's chin with a forearm all the way down. The other thing that followed Branch down was Silva's head, which mimicked both the fall and the impact. Impressive work here by Silva.
UFC 98: Kyle Bradley v.s. Phillipe Nover
At some point, I think fighters started doing things near Silva on purpose. During UFC 98, Kyle Bradley did just that. He pulled of a slick leg trip with a bully push, then struck down upon Phillipe Nover with great vengeance and furious anger. This punch impressed Silva enough to unclasp his hands and wriggle like Chuck Liddell.
UFC Fight Night 29: Dong Hyun Kim v.s. Erick Silva
Ohhh no! That's it! Stop! Poor Silva tried to verbally stop the fight before the referee could dive on top of the fighters. Dong Hyun Kim completely collapsed Erick Silva and then followed up with a startling hammer fist. Silva did not want the fighter who shares his surname to take any more unnecessary punishment. One of the many reasons why he's a great dude.
UFC 142: Edson Barboza v.s. Terry Etim
When Edson Barboza spinning hook kicked Terry Etim into the land of ghosts and wind, mere humans got a peek at a realm they couldn't process. There is so much going on in the Silva Cam. Ari Shaffir, Joe Rogan's comedian friend, holds his hand over his mouth so that his soul may not be transported there, as well. Our man Silva leaped out of his seat, frightened at the scene before him.
UFC 94: Jon Jones v.s. Stephan Bonnar
It was only Jon Jones' second fight in the UFC. Stephan Bonnar was just getting back on a two-fight win streak when he met the new guy. Little did he, or anyone else at the time know that Jones would go on to become arguably the best MMA fighter in the world, or that he'd knock out Bonnar by throwing some sort of Tasmanian devil elbow from hell to the back of his skull. Silva screamed and bolted up with his hands raised, because his mind had been blown.
Sure, a new matchmaker will come to put together amazing fights—and entertain us with priceless reactions—but there will can only be one Joe Silva. Goodbye, sweet prince. We'll never forget you.