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Anderson Silva, Please Go The Fuck Away Forever, Respectfully

Image courtesy of Zimbio

Image courtesy of Zimbio

Believe it or not, I mean that title in the nicest, most passionate and concerned way possible to ever tell someone to go the fuck away forever. Let’s just get through this and then you can freak out.

Brazilian UFC fighter Anderson da Silva was once the biggest name in MMA. Between April 2006 and October 2012, Silva won 17-straight matches. At that point ‘The Spider’ looked absolutely unbeatable, having defeated Stephan Bonnar via TKO 4:40 into the first round of UFC 153.

In a sport with an abject lack of true superstars—Ronda Rousey is by far the UFC’s biggest name—Silva was a star. He was a name. He was a champion. He was someone that even a casual fan (like me) would actually pay money (not stream illegally) to watch him compete.

Silva had a number of great wins over that 17-match span, but seeing him beat down loudmouth Chael Sonnen by TKO in UFC 148 and by submission in UFC 117 definitely standout among his many impressive fights. Granted, there may be nothing more satisfying in life than seeing Sonnen lose at anything.

Unfortunately for Silva, things started to go downhill for him in July 2013 at UFC 162, where American Chris Weidman easily bested him just over one minute into the second round. Six months later at the rematch is where it went off the rails, when Weidman defeated Silva two seconds sooner, this time by gruesomely rearranging his leg at UFC 168.

Approximately a decade younger than Silva, the rematch with Weidman felt like an ugly incident waiting to happen. Although, Silva and his faithful saw it as the exact opposite of that going into the fight, and jeez were they wrong.

Despite the horrifying injury Silva suffered against Weidman in the rematch, in September 2014 he vowed to return and reclaim his UFC title. In January 2015, he returned to the octagon, defeating Nick Diaz by unanimous decision in a fight that last a full five rounds.

A glorious return, however, it was not. Silva may have won the match, but just weeks later it was revealed he tested positive for anabolic steroids. Diaz tested positive for “marijuana metabolites during a post-fight drug test,” that according to ESPN.

It was the third marijuana-related offense for Diaz, but both he and Silva were each temporarily suspended and are scheduled for “full disciplinary hearings.” Considering it was the first offense for Silva, he’s been trying to play upon his supposed squeaky clean past to deny culpability.

According to the SB Nation MMA Blog, “Silva was very emotional as he spoke to his protégés and some of the fighters cried as well. When Silva finished his speech, [his conditioning coach] Rogerio Camoes said the team would continue to honor him.”

Unmoved by Silva’s words was UFC dictator Dana White, who arrived at Silva’s gym later that day to officially announce a changing of the guard. At that point Rodrigo and Rogerio Nogueira, two brothers from Brazil, took control as the gym’s driving force during Silva’s absence, assuming he ever returns in the same capacity.

The soulless and hateful among us aside, it’s almost impossible not to feel for Silva, even if he did use steroids in his recovery, which seems more likely than not. His leg was broken into pieces in late 2013, an injury so graphic that the majority of viewers subjected to the horror show, assumed he’d never fight again.

But here’s the thing: it doesn’t even matter if Silva used or not, the reality of the situation is that his career is over. It was over before his haunting leg injury. MMA may be the single most brutal individual organized sport in the world.Arguing semantics about what he did or didn’t take isn’t going to change the fact that he just recently turned 40.

Image courtesy of Zimbio

Image courtesy of Zimbio

Anderson Silva is not the fighter he once was—he’s not even a shadow of that fighter anymore. He’s just a 40-year-old man who looks a lot like someone who used to be great once. Someone who should’ve walked away from the sport two years ago, but refuses to exit gracefully.

It’s undignified and embarrassing. And anyone who was lucky enough to see Silva fight in his prime knows full well that he deserves a better sendoff. Everyone, it seems, but Anderson da Silva.

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