Anderson Silva was minutes removed from a convincing triumph in his comeback fight at UFC 183 when he spoke to his 17-year-old son in the dressing room.
“Dad, congratulations, but, Dad, done, back to home please, no more fight,” were the words from the crying boy.
The tug of work and family can be a high-wire act, and here was Silva, at 39, anticipating the next step in his career knowing that advancing on to that next fight might devastate one of his children.
Silva defeated Stockton’s Nick Diaz by unanimous decision Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, losing only one round on one of the three judges’ scorecards.
UFC President Dana White said all options are on the table for the former seven-year middleweight champion who grotesquely broke his left leg in a December 2013 title loss against middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
“I need to talk to my family,” Silva said. “I love my job, this is me, I love fighting, but this is important to me now. I’m not saying I’ll stop. I need to talk to my family.”
Silva said he has spent most of the last 13 months at home with his four kids and his wife, the first time he has had more than three uninterrupted months with them in 11 years.
Silva outworked and out-landed Diaz with punches and kicks, crumpling backward to the canvas in victory, emotionally appreciating his redemption.
White said the fight fell short of the activity he anticipated.
“Anderson came back from this injury, and I said it’d be mentally tough for him,” White said. “I expected a lot more output. ... Almost like he was tentative tonight. Wasn’t that he didn’t have it. He was tentative.”
Still, White added, “he looked damn good for a 39-year-old ... physically strong, physically in great shape.
“What he went through, that injury, you knew you weren’t going to see the Anderson you remember, but getting five rounds in, getting more mentally confident with the leg ... we’ll be able to tell with his next performance.
“I want him to go home and hang out with his family, get his head cleared and we’ll see what’s next.”