No esteemed athlete wants to call it quits on a low note, but Anderson Silva must consider ending his career after suffering a devastating leg injury at UFC 168.
During his rematch against middleweight champion Chris Weidman, Silva's leg snapped out of place during the second round. As a result, Silva suffered the second loss of his UFC career.
Anderson Silva's leg snaps in the 2nd round and Chris Weidman will take the rematch to give Silva his 2nd UFC loss! pic.twitter.com/9t3eFF6FfK— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 29, 2013
His last bout with Weidman ended unceremoniously, but that was due to the former champion's own hubris. Silva was dealt a knockout blow while taunting Weidman, perhaps a fluky ending, but a justified one considering his actions.
Watching a man's leg, and subsequently his livelihood, crumble with a vicious and nauseating crack of his leg was a horrifying sight for anyone watching. It's an unfitting conclusion to a brilliant career, but Silva likely has no other choice.
Silva, who was rumored to be contemplating retirement regardless of the fight's outcome, is already 38, and a fighter's shelf life is small in the first place. Conservatively speaking, Silva would probably need at least a year to recuperate from such a gruesome injury. In all likelihood, that's on the low side.
Is this the end for Anderson Silva?
At that point, is it worth Silva fighting to return at age 40 in hopes of competing once or twice more? In the perfect world, "The Spider" could have hung up his gear on his own terms, preferably after obtaining a victory.
But he'd be rusty, and rightfully cautious after such a horrific leg break. Instead of redeeming himself, he would risk furthering his losing streak. Unfortunately, the Silva of old will never come back.
Even though he technically lost, nobody is questioning Silva's legacy after suffering a freak injury. It could have happened to anyone, but it sadly happened to a legend nearing the end of his career.
We tend to overvalue the end. If a two-hour movie is brilliant right up until the lackluster conclusion, should that discredit the entire film? Silva's apparent final chapter is tragic, but consider his full body of work. Per ESPN Stats & Info, Silva held the title for seven years, UFC's longest reign ever.
Anderson Silva held the UFC middleweight title for 2,457 days (2006-13); longest title reign in UFC history. #UFC168— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 29, 2013
This is a decision that Silva must make with his doctors after ample thought and medical evaluation, but he has accomplished all he can achieve in the Octagon. Nobody will blame Silva for never returning to the ring.