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Anderson Silva: A Look Inside the Strange World of the Best Fighter on the Planet

Oron Larocke Crawford
12 April 2012
Anderson Silva - US Combat Sports

The reigning UFC Middleweight Champion and top pound-for-pound champion Anderson Silva is well known for his in the cage performance and abilities. Outside the cage however, not a lot is known about the man.

Shying away from interviews, choosing not to speak in English, and a seemingly general disdain for media related activities have left a great deal of mystery surrounding the mystique and greatness that is "Spider" Silva.

What makes him tick? What is behind some of the techniques he uses? How self-assured of victory is he? And just what exactly is Steven Segal teaching the best fighter ever?

The answers to these questions, as well as information on the release of what will be closest look at "The Spider" await you as we take a deeper look into the enigma that is Anderson Silva.

"I'm always going to be okay"

Silva's manager Ed Soares was nervous prior to Silva's fight against James Irvin at UFC Fight Night 14. He continued to grow more uneasy and tense in the locker room as the fight served as Silva's first attempt above his weight class and his Irvin's eight-second knockout win over Houston Alexander.

Not wanting to show his fighter how concerned he was Soares remained quiet as they awaited the call down to the Octagon. It took all of 63-seconds for Soares' mind to be put to ease as the 185-pound king caught a kick by Irvin and followed with a straight right that sent his opponent to the mat. As Soares entered the cage after the fight Silva whispered in his ear, "Don't ever worry about me in here, I'm always going to be okay."

Where does he learn this stuff?

"That's not going to work," was the answer Silva got when he approached his coach and showed him a new elbow strike he saw while watching the martial arts film 'Ong Bak'. This bothered Anderson, so for the weeks leading to his upcoming fight he drilled this technique over and over again. But he didn't practice the move in front of his coaches.

Instead, Silva worked on the strike when he got home from training having his wife stand on their couch in the middle of the living room holding a pillow. Silva would use the elbow strike against the pillow 50 to 100 times until his wife's arms would grow too tired to hold his makeshift target up.

The night of his next fight Silva turned to his coach and told him "I'm going to knock him out with that elbow strike that you said doesn't work." His coach protested, "Watch me" was Silva's reply. On that night Silva's opponent Tony Fryklund found himself unconscious by way of that elbow strike in the middle of the cage.

Steven Segal, Seriously?

The fight world was abuzz when video surfaced of Steven Segal showing various aikido wrist locks and drilling kicks with the middleweight champion. It got even stranger when he started showing up in Silva's corner for his fights, fans claimed it was a practical joke being played by Silva and his management.

The controversy this caused reached a boiling point when Silva knocked out Vitor Belfort with a front kick and Segal took credit for showing Silva the proper technique in throwing the devastating knockout blow. Fans were genuinely outraged, but according to Ed Soares, Segal is not lying.

Walking to the back of the Black House Gym one day, Soares saw Segal making adjustments to Silva's leg as he threw the kick. Silva would throw it and Segal would give him instructions like, "Put more hip into it, make your knee go up high, if you make your knee go up high the guy will not see your foot come." Soares knows that Steven Segal didn't teach Silva that kick but he isn't opposed to saying that Segal may have helped Silva perfect the strike.

The information for these looks into 'The Spider' mystique came from his manager Ed Soares during a recent interview on (Comedian Joey Diaz's) "The Beauty and da Beast Podcast". Being his manager, there are few people who are privy to Anderson or know him more than Soares.

Soares knows Anderson is a man who keeps to himself and shies away from media attention that is why he was happy to announce the release of 'Like Water'. The film is a behind the scenes look at Silva, from his home life to his training, his dealing with hardships and media scrutiny, how he prepares for fights, his reaction to the hectic fight week schedule and much more will all be featured in the upcoming documentary.

The timing for this fly on the wall style documentary couldn't have been better as it follows the middleweight champion from his controversial performance in a win over Damian Maia through the training for and come from behind win over Chael Sonnen.

Throughout the course of the movie we see sides of the man that we have never seen before, moving his camp to America from Brazil for the first time leaves him missing his family severely. We see his self-assurance and bravado, in response to Sonnen's trash talk on jujitsu; Silva promises Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira that he will tap out his opponent.

The film also highlights how Silva's aberrance to talking with the media can make it difficult in marketing the champion. His contribution to the UFC 117 media conference call all came in the form of one word answers, leaving not much for a stressed out Ed Soares to translate. Soares has reason to look stressed and sure enough as soon as the conference call is over, Soares receives a call from a frustrated Dana White.

But at the heart of this documentary is the amazing fighter that Anderson Silva is. His comeback victory against Sonnen plays out in all its glory and this film captures a truly amazing moment in sports, from lead up till aftermath.

The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and will have limited release in May. Cinedigm (the company who distributed UFC Condit vs. Diaz 3D to theatres) will be releasing the film in select theatres across the nation.

There will always be questions regarding Anderson Silva, some that will probably forever go unanswered. He may never be an open book, but his talent and ability speaks volumes.

Phot courtesy Tracy Lee and Yahoo!

You can follow Oron for more articles, live events results and fight sports rambling in 160 characters or less on twitter at @OronLCrawford

Last Modified:
12 April 2012

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