I know I write for an MMA website, even though we aren’t a serious website and we deal in satire a lot, so in some way, I guess I’m technically part of the “MMA media.” So I should throw all my biases to the side but I can’t hide that I am an unapologetic fan of Wanderlei Silva. He’s one of the main reasons I got into the sport. The fight that turned me into a fan of Wand was Cro Cop vs. Wand I. That was the moment that turned me into someone that looked down upon the sport to someone who’d watch old Pride events in my free time.
Ever since I got into the sport, Wanderlei was one of the few fighters that I’d truly get knots in my stomach when I’d watch. I wanted him to win so much, he embodied this attitude that was so easy to attach yourself to. He came forward and threw some of the most vicious punches and knees you’d ever see.
I had the pleasure of meeting him back in 2010 at the UFC fan expo, he was recovering from knee surgery and he was on some medication to curb to pain. You could tell he certainly wasn’t feeling 100% but he must have sat and signed autographs and took pictures for hours. When I finally got the chance to meet him, I asked him to choke me like he did to Keith Jardine and he couldn’t have been more accommodating.