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5 Jun, 2020 16:01

'I could have DIED': Bike-loving former MMA champ Wanderlei Silva survives AGAIN after being hospitalized by car crash in Brazil

'I could have DIED': Bike-loving former MMA champ Wanderlei Silva survives AGAIN after being hospitalized by car crash in Brazil

Mixed martial arts legend Wanderlei Silva has admitted he is lucky to be alive after escaping with painful cuts to his face and a broken bone in his foot following a second collision with a car while biking in his native Brazil.

The former Pride Fighting Championships champion and UFC star fractured a foot and suffered bloody abrasions around his right cheek and eye when he was thrown off his beloved bike for a second time in four years in an accident that saw the owner of the car act more generously than the hit-and-run driver who fled the scene when he collided with Silva in 2016.

Popular powerhouse Silva, known as "The Axe Murderer" in the octagon, was treated in hospital before being released and calling for greater care among drivers in the city of Curitiba, where he said it was "hard to ride a bike."

"If I hadn't been wearing a helmet, I might have died," the ex-UFC light heavyweight contender told Tribuna, having published pictures showing his eye closed up by a wound, stitching around his eyebrow and swelling and a large circular graze on his face.

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"The first [light] was green...but I cannot [be sure] if the second turned red in the process.

"[The driver] was super nice, stopped and put me in his car. Other people have already come forward to help me. People have to be more careful in traffic."

The scrape continued an eventful week for Silva, who was heavily involved in noisy public protests on Tuesday sparked by vandals – accused by some of being part of the Antifa activist movement that US president Donald Trump recently branded as terrorists – burning the Brazilian flag.

Brazilian outlet Bem Parana reported that Silva had organized a demonstration outside a civic center, joined by other fighters and fitness professionals in a show of unity against damage caused by protestors who had taken part in anti-racism marches.

"We gathered and mobilized members of all the academies and people who, like me, were indignant with the depredation," said Silva, who wore a mask nodding to one of his other nicknames, "mad dog", and has championed controversial right-wing Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.

Now the 43-year-old is campaigning for greater awareness of cyclists. "I was very sad about this accident," he explained.

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"We have a lot more cyclists in the city and we don't have a suitable place to ride.

"Unfortunately, drivers don't respect [cyclists]. I ask people to be more aware of traffic and not to use their cell phones, as this can cost someone's life."

Silva was also a middleweight force during his celebrated 51-fight career, securing impressive victories over the likes of future champion Michael Bisping before returning to light heavyweight for his last UFC contest in 2013, when his win over Brian Stann earned Fight of the Night and Knockout of the Night.

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