Jordy McElroy | 14 August 2020
Thousands of miles away, across an endless stretch of land and water, Anderson Silva is reinventing himself as the baddest man on the planet.
But the arena has changed for the former UFC middleweight champion.
Gone are the thousands of screaming fans in sold-out arenas. Gone are the ritualistic backstage warm-ups that preceded a long and lonely walk to the Octagon. Gone are the unthinkable risks that came with exchanging fists, kicks, elbows and knees with another professional combat athlete.
This new arena is tucked away in Silva’s own house in a dim-lit room simply dubbed “The Batcave.”
The screaming spectators have turned into 100-plus inanimate action figures circling the outer wall of the room. That backstage ritual is now a trip to the refrigerator for a cold beverage before taking a seat in front of a television monitor. The fists, kicks, elbows and knees have been replaced with a video game controller, headset and Twitch camera.
That’s right—the legendary knockout artist that has put more grown men to sleep than Nyquil is now a video game streamer.
The Baddest Twitch Streamer On The Planet?
Twitch is a world-renowned streaming service that has allowed Silva to reconnect with fans through popular gaming franchises like Call of Duty and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six. More importantly, it has given him a way to direct the insatiable flow of creativity running through his mind.
For Silva, gaming has evolved beyond friendly banter after pulling off a successful flank or racking up kills in first-person shooters. This new venture gives him an opportunity to dig deeper into his artistic side.
“I usually play old games,” Silva said in an interview with ESPN Esports, via Google Translate. “Try to create new opportunities. Have ideas. Because I also like to write, right? I like to write a lot about films, write scripts etc. Then I play the old games to get ideas. ”
Silva’s interest in film writing—most notably, anything pertaining to superheroes—is nothing new to longtime fans that have followed his career closely. What is often overlooked, however, is the depth of that fascination and his ability to ground it in reality.
From Brazil’s Spider-Man to Brazil’s Batman
Look no further than “The Spider” nickname. It was derived from the Spider-Man comic book character when a ring announcer introduced him as “Brazil’s Spider-Man,” after spotting him backstage wearing a t-shirt with the hero’s insignia across it.
The character represented youth, a touch of foolery and a cocksure bravado even in the most dangerous situations—a perfect doppelganger for Silva’s rise to the top of MMA’s pound-for-pound ranks. But time has redirected that path and set a brand new itinerary for the now 45-year-old UFC fighter.
“The Batcave” concept for his gaming room harkens back to a script he started conceptualizing over eight years ago.
While sitting at a dinner table during a UFC video blog, a dauntless Silva grinned from ear-to-ear after divulging a story scenario he was working on for Batman.
“It’s the best one yet. It’s what is gonna save Batman,” said Silva. “...We’ve got Superman, that has superpowers and doesn’t get old. We’ve got the Hulk, that gets mad and turns green. We’ve got other superheroes, but Batman doesn’t have superpowers and he gets old. That is when my story begins.” Nearly a decade later, Silva continues to chase that vision of Batman.
He’s still putting countless hours into training and preparing for his next UFC challenge. He’s still soaking up new techniques and drilling them into mastery. He’s still feeding his creativity in an effort to maximize his artistry and ultimately become the best version of himself.
Age doesn’t have to serve as the death knell for dreamers. It’s easy to become so fixated on physical limitations that people stop evolving. In some cases, they stop living. They become complacent and stop setting goals or making any real effort towards accomplishing them.
True Strength Comes From a Willingness to Move the Goalposts
Silva is no longer the No. 1-ranked middleweight fighter on the planet. No, he isn’t headlining UFC pay-per-views, and Burger King isn’t paying him $250,000 to stamp their logo on his fight shorts. He’s made more than enough money over the course of his career to ride off into the sunset on a luxurious yacht, waking up in a new exotic location every morning and sipping Piña Coladas for brunch.
But he isn’t willing to give up being the hero of his own story.
Instead of competing for UFC titles, he’s settled on challenging top fighters that complement his style in the most aesthetically pleasing way for fans. He wasn’t afraid to slap on a headset and pick up a controller for a deep dive into video game streaming in an effort to enhance his personal creativity, while also continuing to build his brand.
Silva’s Batman is nothing more than an ordinary man, trudging towards the same expiration date in a world full of hardships and uncertainty. A man willing to push himself to the point where those around him stop and wonder what’s possible. A man that’s unafraid of dreaming new dreams and conquering new obstacles. A man just like you...
The header image was sourced from Adrenaline.com.