On December 29, 2013, Anderson Silva, one of the most legendary sports figures, was shot down by a horrific injury during the main event of UFC 168. The former champion, who lost his title to Chris Weidman a few months earlier, broke his leg in the rematch when Weidman checked one of his kicks.
The same probably happened to Weidman, when he faced Uriah Hall at UFC 261 in April. Since suffering his injury, Weidman has video-bloged his recovery, sharing updates from the hospital, home and even the gym.
On the first episode of his new show, Won’t Back Down, Weidman spoke to the man he now has a lot in common with. With Silva, he spoke about UFC 168 and apologized for the fallout from that event.
“The first thing that came to my mind when I broke my leg, as soon as I hit the ground – in fact, as soon as I looked at my leg and saw it s’ collapse, the first thing that came to my mind was, ‘I can’t believe it).’ Like, I thought of you, ”Weidman told Silva (ht MMA fight). “I was like, ‘This is Anderson Silva. Like, my leg looked like Anderson Silva’s leg. What the hell? There’s no way it’s my leg right now. And then all of a sudden the pain comes. And I remember when it happened with you, I didn’t know your leg broke as soon as it happened. I thought you were just in pain.
“I walked around and I remember hearing screams, like someone was being murdered, then I came and saw you holding your leg. And I just couldn’t not believe it. And over time I tried to contact you that week, I felt bad about it, but over time you kind of forget. And I feel bad now, because now I understand the pain you’ve been through, all the trials and tribulations you’ve been through, and it makes me feel so much more with you, with these situations. And to be honest, I never even said it out loud, but I’ve really been thinking about it since it happened, but I want to apologize to you.
Silva listened intently to what Weidman had to say, but refused the idea that there was something the American needed to feel sorry.
“It’s (OK),” Silva said. “Don’t worry about that, because I know everything that happened to you the moment I broke your leg, I know you didn’t realize it. (You knew) I felt pain but not (that) I broke my leg. But I want you to understand, don’t say sorry. Because when the people judge, [they] don’t understand what happened inside (the cage).
“I appreciate it, but I still have to get it off my chest, because it’s – in my mind, it’s almost therapy for me,” Weidman replied. “Because one of the things that bothers me a bit about the situation is that there were times, I remember right after doing all these fan meetings… the fans would like me to take pictures.” with me checking out a leg kick and they do. And I remember saying at the beginning, ‘No, no, no, I’m not doing this, it’s disrespectful, it’s disrespectful.’ And then over time I was like, “Okay, whatever, I’m going to do it” and then I started taking pictures like that.
“It bothers me inside because now, going through what I’m going through, I’m like, the pain that [you] and [your] the family had to go through, just the long way it took to get back, and then be able to talk to you and the way you handled the situation – you could have been a real jerk about this situation. You could have killed me and I wouldn’t even hold it against you, but it would have hurt me. But the way you handled it right afterwards with your post – I mean there wasn’t too much stuff I was looking at I was in so much pain but when I saw that from you it meant really a lot for me.
Weidman also said he was incredibly grateful to Silva for contacting him after his injury and for sharing his experience returning to the gym four months later. Silva again told Weidman that there was no need to apologize for any perceived past disrespect.
“Come on Chris, you don’t need to say anything about this. [We’re] Human being. You have a family, I have a family, and my job and yours are very difficult. People don’t understand. People who do not do the same do not understand how difficult it is, how much to devote to this sport. And you’re amazing, because when people talk about the situation, they don’t understand how much you are suffering, how hard you work, how much you leave your family alone to train, how much trouble you have.
“People don’t remember when you lost your home (to Hurricane Sandy), at all. And every problem, you put it in your mind and turn it into power when you step into the cage. And that’s the point. I don’t judge and say nothing, and I talk to people and I say, ‘Stop talking about this guy, because it’s not easy.’ It’s easy to judge, but it’s not easy to come in and fight, and you are doing your best. Don’t worry about it. I’m happy because you got your leg back. Take your time, and I’ll see you fight very soon.
Weidman’s timeline for a return to competition is unclear. However, the former champion has said he wants to keep fighting. Silva’s next contest is tonight. This evening marks the return of “The Spider” to the boxing ring. He faces off against former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.