After 49 professional fights, Wanderlei Silva has announced his retirement from mixed martial arts.
“The Axe Murderer” made his announcement on Friday via YouTube. In a statement that lasted more than 13 minutes and ranged from angry diatribe to emotional farewell, Silva said he no longer has the desire to fight.
And he blames the UFC for extinguishing that competitive fire.
“Today is a very sad day for me. Unfortunately the UFC took away my desire to fight. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep being treated this way,” he said. “And with a heavy heart I come here today to declare: I am stepping down from the ring. After today, Wanderlei Silva will not fight again. My career is over. Because I don’t have the stage to perform where the athletes get the proper respect. For these reasons, I have had enough.”
Silva pointed out the physical toll MMA takes on the body and expressed anger at the tactics he claims the UFC uses to get the fighters to compete.
“They are wearing down the athletes. They make them fight under any circumstances and any conditions,” he said. “As if; either they accept any fight or they’re worthless. Fighters have to fight injured, cut weight fast; who will protect them in the future?”
The Brazilian pointed to how Renan Barao’s failed weight cut was handled as an example of how the Las Vegas-based promotion treats its fighters unfairly. He also claims that the UFC pressured him to fight on cards on both May 31 and July 5 even though he was not physically ready.
Silva admitted to dodging a random drug test. test during a June Nevada Athletic Commission meeting. The fighter was expected to be present for a disciplinary hearing on Aug. 21, but Silva’s team filed a motion to dismiss the disciplinary action against him, so that item was tabled. Silva is supposed to face the commission at its next meeting on Sept. 23.
He has not competed since March 3, 2013, when he knocked out Brian Stann in the second round at UFC on Fuel TV 8. Silva was then scheduled to face Chael Sonnen at UFC 175, but that bout was scrapped ahead of the June NAC meeting.
“They tried to turn my fans against me. My fans, who have followed me for 20 years,” Silva said. “Much before this event existed I was already fighting bare knuckle in Brazil. I fought bare knuckle and I helped to build this sport.
“Everything you see today, I helped build with my sweat and my blood. And now these guys come around and try to tell us what we are and what we are not. “
Now 38 years old, Silva’s has earned a number of notable triumphs while competing for the UFC and Pride Fighting Championships. Over the course of a career that began in 1996, “The Axe Murderer” has defeated the likes of Dan Henderson, Kazushi Sakuraba, Quinton Jackson, Ricardo Arona, Michael Bisping and Cung Le, to name a few. A former Pride middleweight champion, Silva went unbeaten during an 18-bout stretch from August 2000 to October 2004.