Anderson Silva remained hospitalized Sunday after undergoing surgery to repair a gruesome lower-leg injury he suffered in his UFC title bout with Chris Weidman on Saturday night.
For Silva (33-6 MMA, 16-2 UFC), his fractured tibia and fibula cast questions on whether the career of the mixed martial arts star from Brazil may be over at the age of 38. The injury occurred when Silva, kicked at Weidman, who blocked the kick with his left shin. Silva’s lower-left leg broke as his foot whipped around and he fell to the mat at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, screaming in pain. Weidman (11-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) was declared the winner of the UFC middleweight belt 1 minute, 16 seconds into the round.
“I knew that he could hurt me most with the leg kicks. We trained checking the kick a lot,” Weidman said (via the Los Angeles Times). “The idea is to pull your leg and for the shin to land at the knee. That’s exactly what I did and I felt his leg go right away.
“I figured if I [caught] him on my knee it could really hurt him. Crazy how this happened.”
(Note: The following video graphically shows slow-motion footage of Silva’s leg breaking.)
Zuffa, LLC, owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, released an update on Silva early Sunday:
“Following Saturday evening’s UFC 168 main event, former champion Anderson Silva was taken to a local Las Vegas hospital where he underwent surgery to repair a broken left leg. The successful surgery, performed by Dr. Steven Sanders, the UFC’s orthopedic surgeon, inserted an intramedullary rod into Anderson’s left tibia. The broken fibula was stabilized and does not require a separate surgery. Anderson will remain in the hospital for a short while, but no additional surgery is scheduled at this time. Recovery time for such injuries may vary between three and six months.
“Anderson is deeply touched by the outpouring of support from his fans and the entire MMA community. There has been no immediate decision about his future, and he would kindly ask for privacy at this time as he deals with his injury and prepares to return home to recover.”
“He’s still known as the greatest of all time,” Weidman said.
In the night’s other highly-anticipated match, Ronda Rousey (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) successfully defended her bantamweight belt, beating Miesha Tate (13-5 MMA, 0-2 UFC) in the third round. Until Silva’s injury, the buzz of the night surrounded Rousey’s refusal to shake Tate’s hand after the bout between the spirited rivals. Later, Rousey said there was no diss intended.
“I want to congratulate Miesha,” Rousey said (via USA Today). “She’s an amazing fighter. She really is. But for me, family comes before everything – even the boos and cheers of the crowd. I felt like it would disrespect my family if I shook her hand. I said she’s an amazing fighter, but I can’t shake the hand of someone who spits on my back.”