10 years after declaring Wanderlei Silva will never be in the Hall of Fame, Dana White to induct ‘The Axe Murderer’

Wanderlei Silva

Dana White believes combat sports icon Wanderlei Silva has earned his spot in the UFC Hall of Fame.

During the UFC 298 broadcast on Saturday night, ‘The Axe Murderer’ was announced as the next inductee into the 2024 Hall of Fame class. Speaking with the media during his appearance at a post-fight press event, White was adamant that Silva’s contributions to the sport, particularly in its infancy, more than warrant his HoF induction.

“He deserves to be. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame,” White said of Silva. “Back when me and the Fertitas got into this sport and we were huge Wanderlei Silva fans and you know everybody that was a hardcore fan back then was a big fan of Pride and you know a lot of big stars came out of there and Wanderlei has done a lot for the sport in the early days and he deserves to be in there.”

Interestingly, Silva’s Hall of Fame announcement comes a decade after the UFC CEO once declared that the former PRIDE middleweight champion would never find his name listed in the hallowed halls.

READ MORE:  Alex Pereira at heavyweight? Not now, thanks

In September 2014, the Nevada State Athletic Commission handed Silva a lifelong ban and a $70,000 fine for allegedly running away from a random drug test earlier in the year.  An incensed White said in a later interview that Silva’s career was forever tarnished and as a result, he would never be inducted.

“Nobody has ever run from a drug test before. I didn’t see a lifetime ban coming. Nobody will let him fight. He’s in a very serious situation,” White said about Silva when speaking to Fox Sports. “There’s going to be no Hall of Fame. The guy’s been Pete Rose’d. There’s going to be no Hall of Fame offers.”

Asked about his past comments, White admitted that he had simply forgotten about his beef with Silva.

“I’ve been in so many beefs with so many people that I didn’t even remember that till you just told me,” White added. “It’s a good thing I forgot it’s a good thing you forgot exactly.”

Silva, who was in attendance at UFC 298, was nothing short of grateful for the honor bestowed upon him by his former employer.

“It’s a dream come true to be part of the sport,” Silva said. “And to have this great support from this beautiful organization. Thanks so much, Dana White, for all what you’re doing for us. I’m so glad to be a part of the best event in the world” (h/t MiddleEasy).

Wanderlei Silva’s legendary career began in Japan where he held the PRIDE middleweight championship for an unprecedented six years. During his run, he competed against a series of bonafide legends, including Mirko Cro Cop, Kazushi Sakuraba, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Mark Hunt, Ricardo Arona, and Dan Henderson.

READ MORE:  Michael Chandler weighs up BMF title fight with Max Holloway: 'I would love the opportunity down the line'

After his title run in PRIDE came to a close, ‘The Axe Murderer’ signed with the UFC and immediately delivered a Fight of the Year with Chuck Liddell at UFC 79. He would go on to compete against a who’s who of Octagon icons such as Rich Franklin, Michael Bisping, Cung Le, Chris Leben, and Brian Stann.

His last fight came under the Bellator banner in 2018. He closed out his career by going 35-14 with 27 wins by knockout.