Anderson Silva suffered a gruesome leg injury in 2013 after his attempted leg kick against Chris Weidman resulted in a broken leg. Silva sustained a broken tibia and fibula, per ESPN. Dr. Steven Sanders described Silva’s surgery to Bleacher Report back in 2013.
He was brought into the emergency room where he was assessed and had X-rays performed. He underwent minimal blood work tests and was counseled on the injury and what would be proper and standard care for such an injury. He made the decision to proceed forward with surgery. He then was taken to the operating room, where under general anesthesia, he had a titanium rod inserted into his left tibia.
The rod enters at the top of the tibia below the knee, then extends down the leg and across the fracture to a level about the ankle joint. Once the rod is in place, it is then stabilized to prevent rotation by placing a screw through the rod below the knee joint and another two screws just above the ankle. The screws go through bone, through the rod, then out the other side of the bone.
What would follow is an inspiring rehab process that would allow Silva to find his way back to the Octagon. How big of a deal was Silva at the time? Many considered him the best fighter in the sport.
“Silva’s profile was at perhaps its highest ever at that time, even though he was coming off a hugely publicized loss,” UFC commentator Jon Anik explained to ESPN. “In 2013, most considered him to be the greatest pound-for-pound UFC athlete they had ever seen, certainly the most accomplished. It would be as if Michael Jordan had snapped his leg at the height of his career.”
After the Leg Injury, Silva Failed Multiple Drug Tests
To make matters worse, Silva would fail multiple drug tests in the years following his rehab. Silva blamed the failed tests on a contaminated supplement he was taking. ESPN detailed the failed tests.
Silva was suspended for a year by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in August 2015. He was suspended a second time in 2017 for another failed test, but it was later overturned by the USADA, which determined the cause of the failed test was a contaminated legal dietary supplement. Silva says his failed test from the Diaz fight was also the result of a contaminated supplement.
“I’m very sad because … I never lied to my fans,” Silva said. “I just think about … I remember I’m feeling very sad because my kids in school, everybody talked to my kids and say, ‘Your dad’s not the real champion.’
“It’s very difficult because when you don’t have the good team behind you and you buy the different supplements and you never know, you don’t have control for that. Something contaminated, you use it, you fail, because you don’t have control.”
Silva was visibly emotional at the recent weigh-in for UFC 234.
“Thank you, guys, thank you,” Silva said, per BJPenn.com. “I work my entire life for this sport and I try to do my best, and I need to say thank you God for giving one more time the opportunity to give great show for you guys. Thank you so much Australia, thank you Dana [White], thank you. Thank you, guys.”