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MMA legend Wanderlei Silva to run for congress in Brazil

The former PRIDE champion and UFC veteran is running for a seat in the Brazilian congress as a federal deputy.

UFC on FUEL TV: Silva v Stann Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

As the sun sets on Wanderlei Silva’s mixed martial arts career, the legendary fighter is once again attempting to pivot to politics.

The former PRIDE champion known as “The Axe Murderer” announced his intention to run for a seat in Brazilian congress as a federal deputy. Silva will represent the Progressistas (Progressive Party, PP), which also boasts politicians such as Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro.

Silva first announced his intent to run for office two weeks ago on social media, referring to himself as a “family man” and a “champion.” He later claimed to have made the decision to run for congress because “a lot of people complain about our country.”

“Our state has never had an athlete with a name representing us and I want to be that person,” Silva said on Instagram (h/t “I want to get to Brasilia and bring dignity to our sport and work so it becomes a strong instrument for social inclusion. I’m proof of what sports can do for the youth and I know we can change the lives of many. Besides sports, I’ll fight for strong and efficient public safety that values its professionals.”

This marks the second time that Silva will attempt to run for congress in Brazil after failing to win a seat in the 2018 elections. The UFC veteran was then affiliated with the Social Democratic Party.

Silva is the latest fighter to enter the political fray, following the likes of former UFC champion Tito Ortiz, who served as Mayor Pro-Tem of Huntington Beach, California, until he resigned from city council less than six months later. Others include former UFC champ BJ Penn, who is currently running a gubernatorial campaign to become governor of Hawaii.