GLENDALE, Ariz. — Anderson Silva walked back comments he made in September about getting knocked out twice in sparring ahead of his boxing match with Jake Paul.
The UFC legend addressed the controversy in a live setting for the first time on Wednesday at the Paul vs. Silva open workouts. Silva said that he was “joking” when he told MMA Weekly in a Sept. 13 interview that his sparring partner had “knocked me out two times.” The 47-year-old former middleweight champion explained that he was simply trying to sing the praises of his teammates and ultimately did so in an improper way.
“Listen guys, let me tell you something very important. When I talk about the guys doing the hard sparring and [them getting] the knockout, it was just joking,” Silva said, “because I’m training with the young kids and the guys asked me, and I don’t put nothing bad in my mind, and the guys say, ‘Oh, Anderson take knockout in training.’ Of course not. I just like to help and put my partners up, that’s the question.”
Silva’s words echoed the explanation he released Wednesday morning in a statement issued through Showtime, the pay-per-view broadcaster of the Paul vs. Silva match.
“After seeing the reports and concern for me, I’d like to clarify two important things,” Silva wrote in the statement. “One, I was NEVER knocked out in sparring. I misspoke in that interview as I sometimes do when interviewing in English and exaggerated the normal back-and-forth action that occurs in sparring.
“Second, this sparring session I referenced was in early September. The interview with MMA Weekly was done on Sept. 13 and, for some reason, just released this week. So, it wasn’t recent.”
Silva’s initial comments, which originated from an interview released Tuesday, generated ample concern over Silva’s safety heading into the Paul bout at his advanced age.
“I’m training hard for win — I’m training with the good boxers, high-level, and five guys come to help me,” Silva told MMA Weekly. “And the last sparring with [my sparring partner], he is knocked me out two times, and when I finish my training, I talked to my coach and even said, ‘Coach, let me tell you something, why the guys knock me out two times?’ And the coach said, ‘You need to prepare for war, and you prepare for war.’”
Speaking to MMA Fighting on Tuesday, Silva’s longtime coach Luiz Carlos Dorea emphatically denied any instances of Silva getting knocked out in sparring.
Silva is set to meet the 25-year-old Paul in an eight-round professional boxing match on Saturday at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Ariz. The bout is scheduled for a catchweight of 187 pounds and airs live on pay-per-view.
After initially stating that it was “looking into the matter,” the Arizona Department of Gaming announced late Wednesday that it has scheduled a special meeting to review “additional documentation submitted by Mr. Anderson Silva to determine his eligibility to compete in an upcoming bout on October 29, 2022.” That meeting takes place Thursday night.
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