After 51 professional fights, Wanderlei Silva is feeling the effects of a career filled with slugfests in the cage and ring.
In an interview with Brazilian outlet PVT, “The Axe Murderer” revealed that he is suffering from multiple concussion-like symptoms. Silva’s combat sports career spans 29 years overall, and his pro MMA tenure began in 1996.
“I was in a lecture about concussion and of the 10 symptoms the guy mentioned, I had eight,” Silva said (translation via MMAFighting.com). “The symptoms would be, for example, mood swings, getting angry very fast, forgetting some things, having difficulty sleeping.”
The former UFC and Pride Fighting Championships star has squared off with some of the sports biggest names over the years, including the likes of Mirko Filipovic, Quinton Jackson, Chuck Liddell, Mark Hunt, Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Michael Bisping and Tito Ortiz, to name a few. While seven of Silva’s 14 career losses have come via KO or TKO, he’s also absorbed plenty of damage in hard sparring sessions especially early in his career.
“I, for example, believed that the the more you got punched, the more you could take it. And it’s the opposite: the more you get, the less you can take in a fight,” Silva said. “If I could leave a tip for the young guys, it would be don’t hit yourselves every day. If you have a young student, don’t let him take too many punches to the head. There’s the right moment to do a hard training, but it can’t be every day. A good coach takes care of your student.”
Now 42, Silva still doesn’t plan on calling it a career. He last competed at Bellator 206 this past September, when he suffered a TKO defeat to Jackson in a trilogy bout. The Brazilian veteran is targeting a rematch with Belfort, should “The Phenom” sign with Bellator.
“I can fight him twice if he wants, no problem at all,” Silva said. “I’m fine, I’m healthy, I’m training, and at this point of [our] careers would be great for everyone. … I can’t end my career without this fight.”
Silva said that he wants to donate his brain to concussion research after he dies.
“I thought a lot about it and even tried to contact people to make this donation,” Silva said. “I have the most interested in donating, since I won’t be using it anyway [laughs]. This area is very important.”