Jake Paul vs. Anderson Silva Fight Jeopardized After Spider Gets Knockdown Sparring

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 26, 2022

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 13:  Jake Paul and Anderson SIlva pose together during a Jake Paul v Anderson Silva press conference at Gila River Arena on September 13, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Officials in Arizona are reexamining Anderson Silva's fight with Jake Paul, which is scheduled for Saturday, after the UFC legend said he was knocked out twice during a sparring session.

Silva told MMA Weekly (via MMA Fighting's Steven Marrocco) he has been training with "high-level" boxers who haven't pulled any punches in the ring. One sparring partner "knocked me out two times."

Silva clarified the situation Wednesday, saying he wasn't knocked out and that the sparring session in question was in September:

"After seeing the reports and concern for me, I'd like to clarify two important things. One, I was NEVER knocked out in sparring. I misspoke in that interview as I sometimes do when interviewing in English and exaggerated the normal back-and-forth action that occurs in sparring.

"Second, this sparring session I referenced was in early September. The interview with MMA Weekly was done on Sept. 13 and, for some reason, just released this week. So, it wasn't recent."

Silva added his training "has been great" and that he's "fit and ready."

Still, the interview didn't go unnoticed by the Arizona Department of Gaming.

"We are looking into the matter and have no further comment at this time," the organization said in a statement to Marrocco.

Marrocco noted Arizona has stricter requirements for fighters over 36—Silva turned 47 in April—and all fighters are mandated to disclose the last time they were knocked out and for how long.

Silva's coach, Luiz Carlos Dorea, denied he had gotten knocked out.

"What I can say is that didn't happen," Dorea said to Marrocco. "Thank God we follow all the steps in training and Anderson did excellent sparring [sessions]. He's 100 percent for the fight."

The initial reporting certainly didn't flatter Silva, and the full accounting may not bode well for his chances Saturday.

Paul has won all five of his professional fights and scored knockouts against a pair of experienced MMA fighters, Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley. Fans were understandably skeptical of the 25-year-old when he transitioned full-time to boxing, but he has answered them at every turn.

Silva isn't a boxing novice, having logged four professional fights. Still, there's a reason he's the underdog (+145) at DraftKings Sportsbook. Those odds might get longer in the wake of his admission.

Should Arizona officials pull the plug, this would be the third opponent who has fallen through for Paul. Tommy Fury had to back out over the summer, and his replacement, Hasim Rahman Jr., failed to make weight.

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