Anderson Silva will compete at the official taekwondo tryouts for a spot at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and he’s willing to get beat up in the process.
Alongside with Carlos Fernandes, president of the Brazilian Taekwondo Federation, "The Spider" announced in a press conference on Wednesday that he will indeed battle for a spot on the Brazilian Olympic team.
"I stopped training taekwondo when I was 17 so it’s going to be tough, because taekwondo is very different today," Silva said. "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 official tryouts start in January, and Silva will have only a few months to score points and earn a spot in the Olympics in the heavyweight division. According to Fernandes, that’s the only way "The Spider" will quality for the Olympics.
"The rules will be respected," Fernandes said. "The Brazilian Federation would never do that, and Anderson Silva would never accept that. He’s a champion, and he proved it inside the ring."
Silva explained that his lawyers and doctors asked the Nevada Athletic Commission to delay his hearing about the failed UFC 183 drug tests, and maintains his innocence. He doesn’t expect a possible suspension to keep him away from the Olympics, though, but he will stay out of the 2016 Games if NAC asks him to, like it tried with Chael Sonnen and Metamoris.
"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."
Win or lose, the Brazilian Taekwondo Federation sees Silva coming to the sport as a golden ticket.
"Everybody knows that marketing is expensive, especially in Brazil, and having Anderson Silva is like winning the lottery," Fernandes said. "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."