Wanderlei Silva is now facing the harsh reality of mixed martial arts.
With seven of his 51 career fights ending via a knockout, the MMA legend revealed he is now feeling the effects of waging war inside the Octagon for more than two decades.
For fans, the sport is just a form of entertainment.
But for fighters, who are on the receiving end of brutal punches, kicks, and knockouts, it’s a serious battle to avoid health complications.
Now 42 and in the twilight of his career, the “Axe Murderer” has opened up about suffering eight out of ten symptoms of concussion and said he is willing to donate his brain for the study on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Appetite for Violence
Before taking his violence and brutality at the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Wanderlei Silva took his talents first in a bare-knuckle tournament hosted by his home country, Brazil.
At an early age, ‘The Axe Murderer’ has been involved in several street brawls.
When he trained under Chute Boxing Academy and learned the basics of Muay Thai and kickboxing, he became a more dangerous fighter, who would later be recognised for his talents and dominate major tournaments such as the bare-knuckle contest, Vale Tudo.
Silva tested his mettle first in this tournament before wreaking havoc at PRIDE Fighting Championship and UFC.
In September 1997, he made quick work of his first opponent, Sean Bormet, with an 89-second knockout before he pummeled Egidio Da Costa in a brutal ground and pound to come out with a first-round stoppage win.
Unfortunately, his first bare-knuckle stint ended in a sour note as he suffered a doctored stoppage loss after sustaining a gruesome injury above his eye.
In 1998, he made his debut at the Nevada-based promotion against co-Brazilian, Vitor Belfort.
Silva cruised to a unanimous decision loss in his first UFC fight before winning his next match at UFC 20.
He also had stints at PRIDE FC, Rizin Fighting Federation, and his most recent home, the Bellator MMA.
Overall, the 42-year old legend registered 35 wins, 14 losses, a draw, and a no-contest.
With over two decades of seeing actions at the Octagon, the “Axe Murderer” is now experiencing the aftermath of the danger of the sport.
In a recent interview with Portal do Vale Tudo, Silva claimed that he has eight out of ten symptoms of concussion, an injury to the brain that causes organ dysfunction. (via Bloody Elbow)
“I was at this lecture about concussions, and I had eight out of the ten symptoms the guy talked about.”
“For example, mood swings, forgetfulness, trouble sleeping.”
“Back in my day, we used to believe that the more punches you took, the more you could take. It’s actually the opposite.
“The more you take, the less you’ll be able to handle in a fight. If I could leave one tip for young fighters, it’s not to get beat up every day.
“Whoever has young students, don’t let them take too many punches to the head, there’s a right time for a harder session, but it can’t be an everyday routine.”
The 42-year old Brazilian has also expressed his interest in donating his brain for research on a brain condition that is associated with the development of dementia called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and I even tried to get in touch with some people so I could make this donation happen. I’m really interested in donating (my brain) it since I won’t be using it anyway. It’s a really important field.”
Despite his current condition, Silva has no plans of quitting the sport and is even eyeing a rematch with Belfort in Brazil.
“I think it would be the perfect opportunity to bring Bellator to Brazil.”
“I’m the one who’s more interested in this rematch, I can’t talk about Vitor because I lost to him, but, honestly, it hurts that I lost to a wuss like that.”
“I’ll fight two more if he wants to, no problem. I’m well, I’m healthy, I’m training, and at this point, it would be a win for everybody. I can’t end my career without that fight.”
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/ Wanderlei Silva)