The decision to pull out of his UFC 116 match didn't come easily for Wanderlei Silva. The event falls on the same day as his birthday -- July 3 -- and even before he was scheduled for the card, he was lobbying for a spot on it.
In the end though, the injuries were too much to overcome. Speaking about the decision on a video blog, Silva explained that he'd first torn his ACL and planned to fight through it, but then recently suffered a broken rib that knocked him out of the bout. Later, upon getting an X-ray, it was discovered he actually had two other broken ribs that had not been previously addressed.
"I think now I'm paying the bill for all these years of fighting," Silva said in the video.
It was a rather frank admission from a man who earned a reputation for one of the fiercest competitors in the sport for an aggressive, powerful style that made him a PRIDE champion and a fan favorite. His physical style though, seemed bound to affect him in his later years, and Silva seems to agree that's part of what happened.
Apologizing to his family, fans and scheduled opponent Yoshihiro Akiyama for his withdrawal, Silva said he would work hard to return to his past form. He expects to be out around six months.
"I will come back brand new, if God allows again," he said.
The Brazilian legend, who turns 34 on July 3, is coming off a decision win over Michael Bisping, and said that he'd still love to face off against Akiyama in the future.
"You are a great opponent and I hope to fight you in another opportunity," said Silva, who is 33-10-1 with one no contest in his career.