MMA legend Wanderlei Silva has announced that he’s looking to break into Brazilian politics at the second time of asking this year.
Silva became a renowned figure in combat sports through a 51-fight career that spanned stints in multiple elite promotions. After a failed UFC title challenge in 2000, “The Axe Murderer” went on to win the PRIDE middleweight gold, defending it four times before being dethroned by Dan Henderson.
After an entertaining if not successful stint back in the Octagon between 2007 and 2013, Silva took a lengthy layoff before consecutive losses under the Bellator MMA banner. From there, the Brazilian looked to swap fighting for politics, running for federal deputy in the 2018 elections with the Social Democratic Party.
While he came up short back then with just 13,753 votes, the MMA veteran hasn’t been deterred, with another political campaign getting underway this week. Having switched allegiances to the President Jair Bolsonaro-supporting far-right Progressive Party, Silva will once again be running for a seat in Brazilian congress as a federal deputy.
No doubt his fellow political hopefuls will be citing Chael Sonnen in the lead-up to the election — “I can’t let you get too close!”
Silva Hopes To Bring About “Change”
Announcing his decision to run for congress in Paraná, one of 26 states in Brazil, Silva explained the reasoning behind his campaign on social media.
Back in 2018, Silva’s approach appeared built around scathing those in power, with the former UFC title challenger telling MMA Fighting: “There are guys being elected that have no business being there, a bunch of poor guys, dishonest guys that steal from the people. You have to put guys that have an ideal and already have money to live so they don’t need to steal from the people.”
This time around, Silva, who described himself as a “family man proud of his wife and two beautiful children” and a freedom-fighting “patriot,” opened his campaign with talk of positive change and the need to bring “dignity to our sport” in order to drive “social inclusion.”
“I made this decision because a lot of people complain about our country, a lot of people say nothing works here,” Silva announced on his social media. “In order to change this scenario, I’m running as a candidate for federal deputy in the state of Paraná. Our state has never had an athlete with a name representing us and I want to be that person.
“I want to get to Brasilia and bring dignity to our sport and work so it becomes a strong instrument for social inclusion. I’m proof of what sports can do for the youth and I know we can change the lives of many. Besides sports, I’ll fight for strong and efficient public safety that values its professionals.”
Silva isn’t the only MMA legend pursuing a political seat, with former UFC welterweight and lightweight champion BJ Penn currently in the midst of a campaign in Hawaii, the lead line of which is “BJ PENN for Governor of Hawaii.”
Unsurprisingly, “Vote for The Axe Murderer” doesn’t appear to be the tagline for Silva’s campaign…
What do you make of Wanderlei Silva’s decision to run for congress again?