Legendary former UFC champion Anderson Silva made headlines last week (April 13, 2015) when he declared he was aiming for a spot on the Brazilian taekwondo team at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Speaking at a press conference today (via MMAFighting’s Guilherme Cruz), Silva officially confirmed his intentions to try out for the taekwondo team. He’s a 5th dan black belt in the sport, but said he stopped training at it 21 years ago when he was only 17. Because of that fact, he expects to be embarrassed, and he’s ready to be:
“I stopped training taekwondo when I was 17 so it’s going to be tough, because taekwondo is very different today. I’m not worried about being embarrassed by the other athletes. For everything sport gave to me, I will try to give it back. I don’t have anything to prove. I’m here to help the sport and make it stronger.
“I never stopped training and watching the sport. I always used taekwondo kicks in my MMA fights, but now I have to train taekwondo only and adapt myself. It’s another challenge I have to face, and I’m willing to get embarrassed for it.”
“The Spider” is currently under temporary suspension for failing two drug tests connected with his UFC 183 in over Nick Diaz, Silva knows that the Nevada State Athletic Commission could potentially try to interfere with his bid for the Olympics. If they did, Silva would heed their wishes.
The all-time great clarified that his case with the commission is up to his doctors and lawyers, as he’s not quite sure what is going on:
“About the commission trying to stop me from competing in the Games, I don’t know if that would happen because it’s completely different,” Silva said. “But if they stop me, I would respect it.
“I respect the whole process that is happening. The hearing was delayed again, but I didn’t ask for it. My lawyers asked for it, and I don’t know what happened. I still don’t know what happened. People ask me why I don’t talk about it, but I can’t talk about something I don’t understand. My doctors and lawyers will wait for the commission and then we will see what happens.”
Silva appeared next to president of the Brazilian taekwondo federation Carlos Fernandes, who was understandably excited at potentially having a major star like Silva represent his country at the Games:
“Everybody knows that marketing is expensive, especially in Brazil, and having Anderson Silva is like winning the lottery. It’s great for taekwondo, for Anderson and for Brazil. On the technical side of it, we believe Anderson is like water. He’s like water, he adapts to everything. If you don’t believe it, you will see you’re wrong. Taekwondo is an intelligent sport and Anderson Silva is an intelligent fighter. He is in the best shape of his career, and we believe he will do fine.”
You can’t blame Fernandes for getting excited, but it’s hard to say with an degree of certainty that Silva is in the best shape of his career; that’s just too much of a lofty comparison. He was recently caught using anabolic steroids after a career threatening broken leg, and although the jury’s still out on that situation, most won’t believe that he’s still at the ultra-elite level that he was when he was defending the title in highlight reel fashion with jaw-dropping ease each time out to the Octagon.