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Longtime matchmaker Joe Silva leaving UFC following sale of company

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

One of the last remnants of the UFC's pre-Zuffa era is saying goodbye. Joe Silva, the longtime UFC matchmaker and vice president of talent relations, has informed the UFC that he plans to exit the company in the near future, potentially after the end of the 2016 campaign.

Sources close to the situation confirmed the news to MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani on Wednesday following an initial report by MMA Junkie.

Silva's exit comes in the aftermath of the UFC's sale for a record-breaking $4 billion price tag to an investment group led by WME-IMG, a sale which is believed to have been significantly profitable for the executive wing of Zuffa. Silva is said to be retiring in light of the sale, sources said.

The announcement signals the end of an era for Silva and the UFC. Silva worked within the company for over two decades, initially brought on as a consultant by original owners SEG after noticing an ad in "Black Belt Magazine" and phoning the SEG offices hoping to help out. He was one of the few hires to stick through the SEG-to-Zuffa sale in 2001, and in recent years, Silva has served as the primary matchmaker for the lightweight divisions and above, while former WEC matchmaker Sean Shelby has handled matchmaker duties for featherweight and below.

Shelby is expected to remain with the company and will seemingly have an increased role upon Silva's departure.

The UFC has yet to make a statement regarding the news of Silva's impending departure.