Anderson Silva and Michael Bisping shared a tender embrace at during a media event on Thursday, ahead of their fight at UFC Fight Pass in London on February 27.
The friendly tone of the meeting didn’t last long, though, with Bisping landing the first verbal jibe when he told the 40-year-old Silva not to take Viagra before the fight.
Silva often uses an interpreter but is fluent in English and wasted no time with a response, saying he was older and wiser.
After Silva said that he was a long-time champion, the 36-year-old accused the Brazilian of being on steroids.
So the encounter went on – not too unexpectedly considering the fight later this month will be Silva’s first since he was handed a one-year suspension for failing tests for performance-enhancing drugs.
After both fighters trained separately, someone from the crowd yelled to Bisping, asking him what his message to Silva was before their fight
“Steroids are for cowards,” Bisping said.
“Anderson is a great fighter. He’s achieved many things. The fact of the matter is he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in his last fight.
“Apparently, that was the first time he’d been tested. That’s what he said. His words not mine.”
Silva, though, didn’t appear particularly upset by Bisping’s remarks over the use of PEDs.
“Come on people,” Silva said through a translator and manager Ed Soares.
“I’ve been in this sport a long time and people have said a lot of things. Once the Octagon door closes, it always changes.”
Silva admitted that he had considered retiring over the last 12 months but after speaking to his family about it, he added that talks of him hanging up his gloves can be forgotten for the time being.
“When I go to fight and we’re back together again everybody in the family says, ‘Dad, come on. Stop. Hello.’ I think three more years,” Silva said.
“I sat down with my family and explained to them that as long as I’m physically good and happy doing it, I’ll continue to fight.
For Bisping, a fighter who has never won the belt, meeting a fighter of the prestige of Silva in the octagon is a “huge” opportunity.
“The biggest fight of my career,” Bisping said.
“I’m returning to London. My first fight there for five-six years against the greatest of all-time, the legend that is Anderson Silva. Of course, this changes everything.”
“I think when I beat Anderson Silva, (then) I’ve won four of my last five fights. I’ve been a perennial contender for 10 years in the UFC. This is my 11th year with the company. The only guy to beat me in my last five fights was the world champion. When I beat Anderson, I should get my damn title shot. Dana (White), come on.”