MMA veteran Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva has decided to retire from professional competition. The news came shortly after the announcement of a new booking set for March under Brave FC, which would now be a grappling contest.
In a recent conversation with Brazilian outlet Canal Encarada, the 43-year-old spoke candidly about his current state of emotions in terms of his career.
“I fought the best, I beat the best, and also lost to the best,” he said (H/T MMA Fighting). “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.”
Silva’s last win happened in 2015 at UFC 190 when he scored a TKO victory over Soa Palelei. What followed is a very concerning string of 10 losses across boxing, bareknuckle boxing, kickboxing and MMA, with all but one ending via knockout or TKO.
After going through a serious health situation and realizing how it could affect his long-term well-being, he was finally pushed to hang it up.
“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 a wife and kids and people to take care of, people I love and that love me.”
Silva (19-14, with 1 NC) last saw action in June against Oleg Popov. He lost via second-round knockout. He also had one fight under Bare Knuckle FC against fellow UFC veteran Gabriel Gonzaga in 2019 and also lost via second-round knockout.