The MMA community can breathe a big sigh of relief with the news that heavyweight fighter Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva has finally announced his retirement at the age of 43.
“I fought the best, I beat the best and also lost to the best,” Silva told Canal Encarada earlier this week. “There’s a time in life when you can’t… I fought in Russia, back-to-back fights basically, and I’m not taking anything away from my MMA opponent [Oleg Popov], but I never saw myself losing to this guy three or four years ago. This guy has nothing for me, but I’m 43 now.
“I still have the same head I had when I was 35, but my body isn’t 35 anymore. It’s different. We have to respect it. Everybody has a limit. … It’s hard to say ‘I’ll stop, I can’t anymore.’ It’s hard for any professional in any sport.
“I had a tumor years ago, had two surgeries, and every time [I had] a knockout or knockdown I ran tests to see if everything was OK because I’m a human being, a father. I’ll leave the sport professionally, I have wife and kids and people to take care of, people I love and that love me.”
Truth be told the overwhelming belief has been that Silva should have retired years ago due to the alarming number of knockout losses he was suffering in the cage that had left fans fearing for the star’s long-term health.
The writing had been on the wall even in during his time in the UFC, where he was either KO’d or TKO’d eight times in 11 fights, including seven in the first round, but Silva wasn’t ready to call time on his career at that stage back in 2016.
Instead, ‘Bigfoot’ began fighting in Russia, suffering another three losses due to strikes as his losing streak extended to seven fights in a row.
At the same time, Silva was also being TKO’d in a bare-knuckle boxing match with Gabriel Gonzaga, while what appears to be the final fight of his career this past July saw him TKO’d by none other than Viacheslav Datsik in a boxing match.
It’s a shame that Silva’s career had to end this way as there was a time much earlier in his career when he had been a respected heavyweight who had compiled a 16-3 record before joining the UFC.
The pinnacle of his fighting career was undoubtedly defeating Fedor Emelianenko by TKO in the Strikeforce promotion back in 2011, but he also held wins over the likes of Alistair Overeem, Travis Browne, Andrei Arlovski and Ricco Rodriguez.
Silva bows out of the sport with an overall career record of 19-14 (+1nc).