The Axe Murderer has called out fellow UFC veteran Vitor Belfort for a bare-knuckle boxing match…
Wanderlei Silva is an MMA icon. The Axe Murderer made his name with PRIDE, where he developed an iconic status. He’s fought the best of the best, but his record of late in MMA has been patchy. Most recently, he lost to Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson’ by knockout. Consequently, the 43-year-old has taken a lot of damage over the past few years.
So naturally, his next step is to fight in bare-knuckle boxing. He looks set to be one of BKFC’s biggest names. BKFC has made waves over the past two years with the likes of Paulie Malignaggi, Chris Leben and Artem Lobov all making high-profile appearances.
Now the Brazilian has called out Vitor Belfort. Silva lost to ‘The Phenom’ by TKO back in 1998. Since then he’s been holding a grudge against his fellow Brazilian. Now he wants to have it out without any gloves.
Silva made it clear why he signed for BKFC. In short, the money on offer was just too good to turn down. Also, the Brazilian is a lunatic who seems to want to live out the rest of his life prizefighting. Bare-knuckle boxing appears to have reinvigorated his interest in fighting. It was Gabriel Gonzaga v Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva that got him interested.
“About Bare Knuckle, I was invited to make an appearance there. I was invited to watch Gabriel ‘Napao’ fight Antonio ‘Pezao’, Silva said. “They pull some interesting numbers. I think I have finally found the perfect stage to settle all my beefs in the sport. You can only use your hands in bare-knuckle boxing.”
Silva made it clear that fellow UFC veteran Vitor Belfort is the man he wants to fight. Belfort is currently on the books of ONE Championship, so it’s unclear if this will actually happen. However, there’s a good chance he’ll get a title shot very soon because ONE’s light-heavyweight division is very thin. Silva explained the situation:
“I would accept if I could face Vitor Belfort. Bare knuckles, five two-minute rounds, only boxing. I want to see if he’s a man or if he’ll run. We found the right place to settle one of the sport’s oldest rivalries. What’s up, Vitor? Are you in or are you going to run?”
To sum up, BKFC is in a strange position right now. They’ve managed to capture a niche part of the market but may struggle to grow further. Artem Lobov v Paulie Malignaggi was their biggest card but only sold 30,000 pay-per-views. Their main audience loves bloody violence and carnage, but it’s unlikely that they will go mainstream.
Even Joe Rogan has said that bare-knuckle boxing leaves a significant lasting impact on fighters. Broken wrists and hands are a very common occurrence. Meanwhile, facial scars take a long time to heal. Add in the fact that these athletes are pounding their bare fists off their opponents’ skulls and you can see the issue. Maybe they should rename the promotion CTEFC.