Suspended UFC fighter Silva hopes to compete for Brazil in 2016 Games
SAO PAULO — Mixed martial arts fighter Anderson Silva will meet with Brazilian taekwondo officials in hopes of competing in next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, despite facing a possible doping ban.
Silva this week expressed his desire to represent Brazil in the 2016 Games, and local taekwondo officials said they like the idea of having the MMA fighter on the team.
The Brazilian taekwondo confederation said Wednesday that "this wonderful possibility" of Silva competing in the Olympics will be discussed next week between the fighter and local officials.
The 40-year-old Silva began his career as a taekwondo fighter and is a black belt in the sport. He is an ambassador for taekwondo in Brazil.
Silva, who is currently suspended by UFC after failing drug tests, said in a letter to the taekwondo confederation that it would be "an immense pleasure" to be part of the Brazilian team in Rio.
"Everybody knows that every top athlete dreams about the Olympic Games," Silva said. "As an ambassador to the sport, and with the games taking place in my country, I’m even more motivated by the Olympic spirit."
Silva said he would compete with all his "esteem, strength and honor."
On Wednesday, he posted on his official Twitter account a photo of himself practicing taekwondo.
Silva tested positive for two steroids in an out-of-competition test Jan. 9, and also failed a test after his UFC victory over Nick Diaz on Jan. 31.
The Brazilian later said in a statement that he always "played clean" and "never used any substances" to improve his performances, and that he was "still waiting for the results and analysis from the specialists that are working to reveal the truth."
Silva has a hearing scheduled for May on the doping allegations.
Silva is considered one of the best pound-for-pound mixed martial arts fighters in the history of the sport,
The former middleweight champion returned to the cage in January after breaking his lower left leg more than a year ago. He beat Diaz but the victory was quickly overshadowed by the doping headlines that surfaced shortly after the fight.
According to the Brazilian taekwondo confederation, its president Carlos Fernandes was "pleased" to receive Silva’s proposal, but many details still must be discussed before his participation in the games can become a reality.
There are doubts about Silva’s eligibility for the games, as well as about his form, considering he hasn’t competed in taekwondo events in a long time.
"He is a great MMA athlete, but taekwondo has its own characteristics, so I’m sure he is not ready yet to compete for a spot in the team," Lucas Ferreira, one of the other Brazilian taekwondo fighters hoping to participate in the Olympics, told Globoesporte.com. "He will have to fight for a spot like everybody else. If he proves he deserves to make it, then great."
Another Brazilian fighter, Guilherme Felix, said it wouldn’t be ethical for Silva to earn a spot in the Olympics "without showing the results for it."