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UFC releases Anderson Silva, Bellator MMA not interested

With one fight left to go on his deal, enough was enough for the UFC as they confirmed the official release of Anderson Silva Thursday.

Following Silva's Halloween night loss to Uriah Hall, Dana White aired his frustrations at allowing Silva to fight, saying "it was a big mistake."

It was believed the fight was to be the 45-year-old Silva's last, but he showed reluctance during fight week at committing to that.

Speculation is that if Silva was to fight again, Bellator MMA might be an option but Scott Coker told Ariel Helwani Thursday that he has no interest in signing him. Japan remains an option, especially ONE who signed former Silva rival Vitor Belfort to a deal.

Silva rose to prominence in the UFC's middleweight division during the post-TUF boom period, setting records for the longest title reign (2457 days) in a stretch that also saw "The Spider" win 16 straight fights -- also a UFC record.

He started in the company in June 2006 with a 49 second knockout of Chris Leben. What followed was a magnificent run that saw him win the middleweight title convincingly from Rich Franklin in October 2006 with ten subsequent title defenses. It should have been eleven, but his 2007 fight with Travis Lutter was turned into a non-title fight when the challenger missed weight.

He finally lost the title to surprise fashion to Chris Weidman in July 2013 which kicked off a roller coaster decline that included breaking his leg badly in the Weidman rematch. Over a seven year stretch, he won just once in his last nine fights with the sole victory -- a February 2017 decision win over Derek Brunson -- a controversial one. He had defeated Nick Diaz by unanimous decision two years earlier but it was overturned to a no contest due to PEDs.

During his middleweight dominance, he flirted with the light heavyweight division with amazing results, knocking out former champion Forrest Griffin, James Irvin, and Stephan Bonnar -- all in the first round. Years later, he stepped up on a day's notice and lost to Daniel Cormier at UFC 200.

For years, there were talks of him fighting welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre in a dream fight but it never came to pass.