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Wanderlei Silva: Bareknuckle brawl with Mike Tyson could do bigger numbers than a Mayweather fight

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Ever since Mike Tyson decided to get back into fighting shape and post frightening video evidence proving he still possesses some scary knockout power, several current (and former) heavy hitters have thrown their names into the hat to welcome “Iron Mike” back into combat sports.

Indeed, fighters such as Tito Ortiz, Ken Shamrock and even Tyson Fury have expressed their interest in a possible fight against one of the scariest fighters in the history of boxing. But the one man who seems to have an edge on them all is former PRIDE FC and UFC head-hunter, Wanderlei Silva. According to “The Axe Murderer,” Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) has contacted him about the possibility of facing Tyson.

For Silva, now is the time to put on a fight like this since live sporting events are few and far between because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This fight has everything to sell a lot, especially now that everyone is stuck at home (due to the coronavirus pandemic),” Silva told MMA Fighting. “It would be the perfect moment to book a fight like this.”

“David (Feldman) came to me once and said, ‘Look, you’re the first fighter that came to mind when I created this promotion,’” he continued. “They offered me a few names in the past, but I said no – those names and that money weren’t worth the risk. To do something this crazy and fight without gloves again, it has to be something really advantageous in terms of name recognition and prize.”

Silva feels that while Tyson does have the boxing accolades in his favor, when it comes to bareknuckle brawling, the former Vale Tudo star says he will have the advantage.

“He asked me if I would agree to fight Mike Tyson, if I had the guts to fight Mike Tyson with no gloves. [I said], ‘Look, first you have to ask Tyson if he has the guts to fight me without gloves.’ I was a world champion (in MMA), [and] I fought with bare hands before, and he never did. I think it would be a memorable fight.”

Furthermore, Silva strongly believes that if this fight comes to fruition, it will do bigger numbers than any Floyd Mayweather fight, which is saying something since “Money” is the biggest box office draw in any sport.

“There’s nothing going on right now, so a fight like this has everything to generate more money than (Floyd) Mayweather’s fights because of the entertainment and other factors,” Silva said. “He’s aggressive and so am I; I’m in great shape both mentally and physically, so it has everything to be a great show for everyone.”

BKFC reportedly offered Tyson a payday of $20 million to step back into the ring. If so, Silva says he will gladly accept the challenge for half of that purse, which will undoubtedly be his biggest single payout ever.

Silva, 43, has lost two in a row, with his most recent defeat coming at the hands of Quinton Jackson, who knocked out “The Axe Murderer” at Bellator 206 in 2018. Tyson, 53, meanwhile, hasn’t had a professional fight since losing to Kevin McBride 15 years ago.