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Wanderlei Silva talks multiple concussion symptoms, wishes to donate brain for CTE research

MMA legend Wanderlei Silva expresses his desire to further help research on brain trauma on MMA fighters.

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MMA: Bellator 206-Jackson vs Silva
Wanderlei Silva
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

A legend of the sport in the sunset of his career, Wanderlei Silva has some other preocupations other than fighting at this point in his life. Now 42-years-old, the ‘Axe Murderer’ always stepped into the cage or the ring and swung for the fences no matter who he had in front of him. He seems to finally be experiencing the effects from all the damage he took in his career that had 51 professional bouts — seven of which he lost by knockout — and countless gym wars.

In an interview with Portal do Vale Tudo, Silva revealed he wants to donate his brain for research on dementia pugilistica, also known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition that affects most professional combat sports after a certain age. Furthermore, Wanderlei said he got scared when he attended a lecture on the subject and discovered he already suffered from most of the condition’s symptoms.

“I was at this lecture about concussions and I had eight out of the 10 symptons the guy talked about. For example, mood swings, forgetfulness, trouble sleeping. Back in my day, we used to believe that the more punches you took, the more you could take. It’s actually the opposite. The more you take, the less you’ll be able to handle in a fight. If I could leave one tip for young fighters it’s not to get beat up everyday. Whoever has young students, don’t let them take too many punches to the head, there’s a right time for a harder session, but it can’t be an everyday routine.”

“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and I even tried to get in touch with some people so I could make this donation happen. I’m really interested in donating (my brain) it since I won’t be using it anyway. It’s a really important field.”

Although worried about brain trauma and coming off a knockout loss to Quinton Jackson in his last outing, Silva also expressed a desire to continue fighting. He even has a plan in mind: a rematch with Vitor Belfort in Brazil.

“I only became Wanderlei Silva after that loss to Vitor (in October 1998). I didn’t study him, I didn’t know he was that explosive. Everyone knows Vitor, if he can’t explode right at the beginning, he’ll probably surrender. For me, being the gladiator that I am, it pissed me off that I lost that fight. You know how it goes, I’ll lose to anyone, but not to that guy. It turns out I did lose to him, what can I say? It’s been 20 years I’ve been chasing him and he has not done anything but run.

“I think it would be the perfect opportunity to bring Bellator to Brazil. I’m the one who’s more interested in this rematch, I can’t talk about Vitor because I lost to him, but, honestly, it hurts that I lost to a wuss like that. Everyone knows Belfort is a coward. But what can I do? I lost to him. Now I have to mess him up, then I’ll give him a chance to come at me. I’ll fight two more if he wants to, no problem. I’m well, I’m healthy, I’m training and at this point it would be a win for everybody. I can’t end my career withouth that fight.”

Wanderlei Silva is currently on a two-fight losing streak, with losses to Quinton Jackson and Chael Sonnen in his last outings. The Axe Murderer’s last win came in March 2013, when he defeated Brian Stann via knockout.

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