Wanderlei Silva Hit By Car While Riding Bike, UFC Legend Says Helmet Saved His Life

Mixed martial artist Wanderlei Silva arrives at the Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards 2011 at the Palms Casino Resort November 30, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller / Getty Images

On Wednesday, MMA legend Wanderlei Silva was hospitalized after being struck by a car while riding his bike in Curitiba, Brazil, per TMZ. Silva was knocked off his bike and onto the pavement, fracturing his foot and severely damaging his right eye and cheek. After being released from the hospital, the 43-year-old said the accident would have killed him if he was not wearing a helmet.

“I could even have died if I wasn’t wearing a helmet. People have to be more careful in traffic. It’s hard to ride bikes in Curitiba.”

The former PRIDE FC middleweight champion described how the accident occurred, explaining that he was trying to navigate a street with two traffic lights when he was struck, per MMA Mania.

“The first one was green… but I cannot [be sure] if the second turned red in the process.”

Silva also decried the conditions for cyclists in Curitiba, saying that while more people are using bicycles, there isn’t a suitable place to ride. He called on drivers to show more respect to cyclists, be aware of traffic, and avoid using cell phones while behind the wheel.

The 43-year-old went on to say he was thankful that the driver who hit him stopped and aided him after the accident.

“I suffered a similar accident in 2016 but this time at least the car driver didn’t run away. He stopped to help me.”

This is the second time in four years that Silva has been involved in a biking accident in his hometown of Curitiba. His 2016 accident saw him struck by a car while cycling to the gym. The hit-and-run incident left Silva with major damage that required stitches on his leg. According to an MMA Fighting report, Silva also credited his helmet for helping him survive the life-changing event at that time.

“Live well because it’s over soon. God bless you — and if you’re riding a bike, use a helmet because we never know when we’re going to need it.”

Silva’s injuries will likely put an end to rumors of his return to fighting in the near future. Previous reports suggested that Silva could face off against boxing icon Mike Tyson in a bare-knuckle boxing match. The rumored fight would have been under the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship’s (BKFC) banner. Silva hasn’t fought since 2018, when he was defeated by Quinton Jackson in a knockout loss at Bellator 206.