Former Brazilian MMA Fighter Wanderlei Silva Loses Bets, Asks Fans to Cover His Losses

Wanderlei Silva had an illustrious career in the MMA, ultimately making it to the top-10 list of the richest fighters before he retired last year. The Brazilian middleweight champion’s accumulated wealth didn’t stop him from recently asking his fans to cover his losses after a soccer bet went sideways.

Wanderlei Silva in a pre-fight press conference for the MMA
Wanderlei Silva in a prefight press conference for the MMA. He placed a couple of sports bets recently, then asked fans to cover the money he lost. (Image: Getty Images)

“The Ax Murderer” retired from fighting last September after a semi-retirement four years earlier, but his legacy lives on through his son, Thor Silva. He’s had a lot of free time on his hands since then, buying pricey apartments in his home country and spending more time betting on sports.

The latter tripped him up recently after he placed a “series of wagers” on a game between his favorite Brazilian team, Coritiba, and rival Club Athletico Paranaense. When his team lost, Silva took almost immediately to Twitter and, in a lighthearted plea, relayed his dismay and sought financial support.

All in Good Fun

Silva got into the game after his team moved ahead 1-0. That was enough for him to expect Coritiba to take the game and he wagered on them to win. However, fate turned the tables around.

Athletico Paranaense recovered and, ultimately, won the game 3-2, shocking the world champ and die-hard fan. That’s when he turned to social media to make his plea for supporters to throw him a lifeline.

The clip has been shared on Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms, sparking a variety of responses from Silva’s followers. Some questioned whether it was a joke while others lamented the need for Silva to ask for financial assistance.

Silva finally responded after the news began to make waves outside of social media. In a new video, posted on his Instagram profile, Silva gave a half-serious and half-joking explanation. The serious side acknowledged the wagers. However, according to him, the total was only BRL200 (US$40.26).

Still, Silva learned a valuable lesson on his road to becoming a millionaire – never spend your own money when you can spend someone else’s. He added in the video that his fans had given him BRL150 (US$30.20) to cover the debt, and that he’s still waiting for the balance.

Brazil Ready to Regulate Sports Betting

Brazil is working on a plan to finally regulate sports betting across the country. It’s been a long time coming, especially after former president Jair Bolsonaro intentionally got in the way as he was leaving office.

Now that a new regime is in place, the government can get back on track and complete projects it began years ago. A provisional measure to regulate sports betting is almost across the finish line and should be finalized within the next couple of weeks.

The provisional measure was a stop-gap that would allow the government to start collecting taxes on sports betting while creating a framework for operators. If it survives the mandatory 120-day scrutiny by lawmakers, it will become a permanent law.

The attention Silva’s bets have received could have an unintentional impact on the course of the measure. Brazil plans on severely handicapping sports betting operators’ marketing and advertising capabilities, but his content may have exposed a loophole.

Silva didn’t prepare his videos to promote a particular sportsbook, though they did receive thousands of views and likes and hundreds of reposts. It wouldn’t be difficult for operators to develop creative content using a similar framework for promotional purposes.

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