Wanderlei Silva isn't nostalgic about the early, no-holds-barred days of mixed martial arts.
"We didn't have rules, style or anything," the veteran Brazilian fighter told FOXSports.com "Man, you didn't even have any warning on who you were going to fight. I think that's why there were so many jokes made about the sport and the fighters."
There will be much more decorum when Silva enters the Octagon against Brian Stann at UFC on Fuel TV 8 in Japan this weekend with lightly padded gloves -- about the only thing that hasn't changed dramatically since Silva's days as a vale tudo (Portuguese for "anything goes") fighter.
Silva, 36, credits UFC president Dana White, who convinced the casino magnate Fertitta brothers to team up and buy the UFC in 2001, for making the sport not only more professional, but also lucrative.
"There wasn't much benefit for the fighters (financially)," Silva said. "You didn't make money outside the Octagon. Now, we can make appearances, get sponsors. It's a d...