When you hear Anderson Silva's manager Ed Soares talk about what they want, the term 'big fights' has become a common theme. That's exactly what Anderson Silva hasn't been getting from the UFC. Some of Anderson Silva's paycheck is determined by how many people purchase the PPV he fights on. Silva's never been a huge PPV draw himself, so if in order to get paid what he and his camp deem worthy, he needs to fight big named opponents. It seemed like it all started after Anderson Silva defeated the last real threat to his title in Dan Henderson at UFC 82.
After that fight, Silva was allowed to fight James Irvin as a LHW. Most people forget that this fight was thrown together swiftly as the UFC was trying to counter-program an Afflicton PPV with a LIVE event on Spike TV. This is my conjecture, but It think the UFC made it worth Anderson's while to take that fight on short notice. It granted him a good payday, got him a lot of exposure that he needed at the time, and stole some viewers from the Affliction PPV.
Enter his next fight at UFC 90 against Patrick Cote. Remember, Silva is paid via how many PPV buys take place for the most part. He's not popular, so he needs someone to help carry the fight right? Guess what, nobody knows how Patrick Cote is in regards to causal fans which resulted in very few PPV buys. Nobody thought he was a legitimate threat to Anderson Silva. Nobody knew who Thales Leites was at UFC97, and nobody thought Leites had a real big chance of winning.
Enter UFC 101. His opponent Forrest Griffin is very popular and BJ Penn is fighting another popular TUF fighter in Kenny Florian in the main event. Which means that the card will do well on PPV. Forrest Griffin is/was a top ten light heavyweight, so he was looked upon as a legitimate challenge to Anderson Silva. We know how that turned out though.
Enter UFC 112. First of all, it's a foreign card which almost automatically means that it's going to do less PPV buys than it would if it took place in America. Secondly, Demian Maia wasn't considered a real threat to Anderson Silva by people in the know.
So basically what it comes down to is a combination of Anderson seeking money and competition. Does that justify his performances at UFC 90, 97, and 112? No, but he outclassed all of those opponents without breaking a sweat really.
I think the whole outcry has to do with his nonchalant attitude and empty apologies after each performance. It's clea that Anderson Silva doesn't feel threatened by any middleweight out there. He wants a challenge, and he wants to get paid. I have the perfect opponent in Frank Mir.
This fight was brought up by Anderson's camp last year when the initial talks of him going to heavyweight started. Frank Mir is one of the best fight seller's in the game, and he's a legitimate top ten heavyweight. That fight would sale. I don't know how competitive it would be, but it would sale and when you really boil it all the way down to the nitty gritty.