Doctor says Silva may resume training in 6-9 months

The Las Vegas doctor who operated on the broken leg of Anderson Silva late Saturday night said the former middleweight champion asked him a question just before surgery that will have Silva’s many fans dreaming of a return to the cage for the 38-year-old Brazilian: “When can I train?”

Dr. Steven Sanders said Silva asked the question in a pre-op area of University Medical Center after Silva broke his leg while attempting to kick Chris Weidman during UFC 168 at MGM Grand.

He said the fighter repeats the question each time he sees him in the hospital, where Silva continues to recover.

No specific timetable for Silva’s release is set. Sanders said the stay is standard as doctors monitor Silva’s vital signs and pain levels. The actual operation lasted about an hour, according to Sanders, and occurred shortly after Silva was transported from the arena.

A titanium rod was inserted into Silva’s tibia and is held in place by screws. Sanders said the hardware is designed to remain in the leg permanently unless a patient specifically requests removal.

While Sanders called the injury “fairly severe,” he said it could have been worse.

“The minute it occurred I’m sitting there going, ‘That’s fixable,’ ” said Sanders, who has worked with the UFC for more than a decade and was in attendance Saturday night.

As for the answer to Silva’s question, Sanders said it is difficult to pinpoint how long until Silva can train less than 48 hours removed from surgery.

When pressed, he said a timetable of six to nine months is probably accurate. Sanders did say the bone should heal to full strength and the actual injury shouldn’t be a disqualifying factor in determining whether Silva fights again.

■ WHITE DISAPPOINTED WITH ‘BIGFOOT’ — UFC President Dana White said learning Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva tested positive for elevated testosterone levels after battling Mark Hunt to a draw in one of the most entertaining fights of the year this month “ruins” everything about the fight.

Silva had been issued a therapeutic-use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy by the UFC, which was acting as the athletic commission for the event in Australia.

The TRT is only supposed to be used to get a fighter up to a normal level and fighters competing under a TUE still must test within the allowable limits.

White said Silva was tested throughout the process and was fine all along, but that the fighter decided to take one more shot, and that proved to be the one that put him over the limit.

“What (testosterone) really does is help you during your training,” White said. “While you’re training it helps you heal faster and all this other stuff. Taking that extra shot the week of the fight just puts your levels through the roof and doesn’t really give you an extra (benefit). If (Silva) didn’t take that shot, they would have had the same fight probably.”

White said the UFC will continue acting in accordance with athletic commissions in regards to issuing TUEs. As long as they are still allowed by commissions in states such as Nevada and New Jersey, the UFC will allow them on a case-by-case basis when they are acting as the commission in certain foreign events.

He did have a message for fighters using the treatments, pointing out the penalties Silva received for his indiscretion:

“So all you guys out there that are on TRT, and it’s legal, you wanna (expletive) around and take that shot after you’ve been tested? There’s the consequences. The consequences could not be worse. Now you’re on suspension for a year, you lost your win and your bonus money, and I’m sure your sponsors aren’t thrilled either.”

■ FIRST LIVE EVENT ON FIGHT PASS — Saturday’s UFC event in Singapore will be the first one available exclusively on the organization’s new digital platform, UFC Fight Pass. The product will cost consumers $9.99 per month beginning on March 1, but is available for free to everyone until then.

In addition to live events in foreign markets, content will include the organization’s entire fight library and other archived programming. There eventually will be exclusive behind-the-scenes content exclusive to the platform.

Fans hoping to watch UFC Fight Night 34 on Saturday, featuring a main event between Tarec Saffiedine and South Korean prospect Hyun Gyu Lim, will have to connect to UFC Fight Pass. The 10-fight card will begin streaming at 6 a.m.

In the past, the UFC has often started international events at odd times to air in primetime television in the U.S. The new streaming service will allow fans in foreign markets to watch and attend events at normal times, while U.S. viewers can watch live or stream the event at any time they choose.

UFC officials hope the move encourages in those foreign markets to air the broadcasts now that they will be live in prime time.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.