Cleat Geeks

Throwing In The MMA Towel

We could spend all day talking about fighters who fought, or are currently fighting, longer than they should have. The list goes on and on but unfortunately, it’s a harsh reality for most of the fighters in the sport of MMA today. Between their training regimen, the brutal weight cuts they put their bodies through, and the amount of damage they sustain, working a full-time job isn’t feasible. There are a lot of fighters who work other jobs between MMA fights but a lot of them use fighting to put food on the table. You’ve got guys like Chuck Liddell and Dan Henderson who endured more knockouts than they should have in their time. You’ve also got guys like Fedor, “Big Nog” and “Bigfoot” Silva who continue to fight well past their primes and put their bodies through extreme punishment.

Silva has an abnormally large head, so large and thick in fact that multiple opponents have broken their hands punching him.

 

I want us to focus on Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva for a few minutes and look at his career. The nickname “Bigfoot” comes from the fact that he wears a size 16 shoe and one look at the massive human and it’s easy to see why. He towered above most of the competition, even at heavyweight, standing at 6’4” and cutting weight to get to 265 pounds on fight night. Silva suffers from a condition known as acromegaly, which is essentially a form of gigantism. Silva has an abnormally large head, so large and thick in fact that multiple opponents have broken their hands punching him. Yet for all of his physical attributes and being deceptively fast for his size, he has suffered knockout after knockout in the last few years of his MMA career. The ban of TRT in the UFC was really the end of the line for Silva when it was banned from the promotion in 2014. Prior to that, Silva had suffered a TKO loss to then-Champion Cain Velasquez after winning two straight against Travis Browne and Alistair Overeem.

Image result for Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva

After the Velasquez loss, his second to the Champion, the thought of him fighting for the title a third time was all but gone. He would have needed to win multiple fights against top-tier opponents. Instead, his career took a turn for the worse. He and fellow friend Mark Hunt put on a great fight in front of Hunt’s home crowd in Australia, a bout that ended in a draw, only to have the decision overturned due to elevated testosterone levels from Silva. Silva would go on to lose 5 of his 6 final bouts in the UFC by knockout or TKO, which earned him his release from the promotion in September of 2016. Many thought his career in MMA would be over, whether that was his decision or not. Less than 60 days after being knocked out by Roy Nelson, Silva found himself fighting for Titov Boxing Promotions in the main event, a fight he lost by unanimous decision. In June of 2017, he found himself fighting at Fight Nights Global 68, this time opposite former Bellator heavyweight Champion Vitaly Minakov. Minakov would go on to end the fight via knockout just 1:37 into the second frame.

 

I hadn’t even heard that he’d been given another fight, but read on the internet last week that “Bigfoot” Silva had been knocked out again, this time in a Glory kickboxing bout against Rico Verhoeven. 43 seconds into the second round, the referee made the decision to call the fight, making this Silva’s 10th knockout or TKO loss since 2011. 10 fights stopped in 6 years and for some reason, promotions keep offering him the chance to fight. We watched Chuck Liddell fight punch drunk for the latter part of his career, he was kept from fighting in the UFC after 4 knockout or TKO losses in a 3-year span. Dana White basically made him retire, which was a really honorable thing to do, especially considering the amount of revenue Liddell generated.

Someone has to stop this guy from continuing to fight. Silva is currently the forerunner to be patient zero for CTE in the UFC. Not only has he suffered all of these knockout losses, this is a guy who has a condition that kills most people that suffer from it. MMA fighters have proven time and time again that they don’t know when to stop, it’s up to someone else around him to be the voice of reason. The sport of MMA has changed drastically over the last few years. The banning of TRT and IV use in the UFC paired along with USADA and doping testing have cleaned up the sport and rid it of some of its abusers. The UFC did the right thing parting ways with “Bigfoot” Silva, but his time there and the name he earned have other promotions willing to watch him suffer for a few lousy ticket sales. Ariel Helwani has been accused of a lot of things, being shy isn’t one of them. He called a few weeks ago, after the Kevin Lee weigh-in fiasco, for more weight classes in the UFC to keep this from happening. As spectators, we need to do more to voice our concerns for guys like “Bigfoot” before he ends up dead. We’ve read multiple reports of MMA fighters on the regional scene dying in recent years and one is too many. Although I think the UFC takes a lot of precautions to ensure that fighters don’t put themselves in danger of losing their lives, the other promotions obviously don’t share their enthusiasm.

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