Fifteen years ago, the rivalry between Brazilian Top Team and Chute Boxe used to make Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba hostile territory for anyone representing the opposing team.
Wanderlei Silva adopted the phrase “time is the best medicine,” launching his autobiography on Thursday titled “Sem Coleira” in former rival city Rio de Janeiro. Unconcerned with a hostile reception, those in attendance including even former enemies gave him a hero’s welcome, and “The Axe Murderer” was truly moved from the fans in the city. In his release party, Silva was able to celebrate with the fans and former rival teams in Rio de Janeiro, in a beautiful tribute for the legend of the sport.
Those in attendance included fans, journalists, Luta Livre members, Nova Uniao and even former enemies from BTT.
“Fifteen years ago, it would be impossible for me to be here,” expressed BTT founder “Bebeo” Duarte. The Carlson Gracie black belt was also joined by Carlos Barreto at the ceremony. “I would be at home cheering for a huge storm destroy his event, mainly for being in our homeland. But that’s past. Today I’m able to see how important it was that rivalry to the MMA and I’m very happy to be here honoring this great legend of our sport.”
“Names like Wanderlei, Minotauro and Anderson Silva transcend MMA,” said Duarte. “They are icons admired for any fans of any sports. There is no way I wouldn’t be here to pay my homage to him.”
Before fans lined up, Silva was announced by entering to iconic walkout song “Sandstorm” by Darude, walking out to a cage to sign books and take photographs. During his brief speech, Silva emotionally reminisced about of his career and thanked fans along with his team and the opponents that helped him grow.
When Silva noticed Luta Livre master Eugenio Tadeu entering the arena, he could barely hold himself together.
“Thanks for coming, master,” Silva gushed. “You did the first Vale Tudo fight I saw in my life [against Wallid Ismail in 1991]. Such an honor to have you here.”
For almost two hours Wanderlei signed books, took pictures and talked to everyone in attendance. Several famous members of the sport made appearances in support of their hero, including former Ultimate Fighting Championship champion Jose Aldo as well as ex-king of Shooto Alexandre Franca Nogueira, with the latter reigning over his featherweight division from 1999 to 2005. Although the focus was not on Aldo, the longtime champ discussed the influence of Silva on his own aggressive style, while revealing that his next UFC bout is booked for November – although he was coy about revealing the opponent.
Comedian and musician Rey Biannchi also came to celebrate with Silva. The popular Brazilian comic known for his numerous humorous animal imitations, cracked Silva up in a short performance. In his show, Biannchi performed in part as a character called “The Mad Dog,” created as an homage to the legend.
“I lost so many nights waiting for his fights in Pride,” explained Biannchi. “There were no TV transmissions by that time so Brazilian fans needed to find illegal links. Wanderlei was the Brazilian Mike Tyson. I’m really happy to finally met him personally and make him laugh. His legacy can never be forgotten by new generations.”
His biography, written with ghostwriters Thiago Parijiani and Luis Henrique Gurian, delved into the life of “The Axe Murderer.” In the pages, Silva revealed several important moments of his career by going into detail about his rivalries with Ricardo Arona, Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort.
Also featured in the 166-page, picture-stuffed book is the oft-discussed salacious story of Silva’s encounter with Charles Bennett. Sharing a long-held Chute Boxe secret, Silva admitted in his biography that “Krazy Horse” did in fact knock him out backstage at Pride Shockwave 2005 shortly before Silva had to face Arona for the Pride Fighting Championships middleweight belt.
Silva recently met with Royce Gracie on Monday to sign a copy of his book for the fellow legend. While the biography is currently only released in Brazil, Silva promised that the English translation will be made available in 2021.