From PRIDE to the UFC
From PRIDE to the UFC
This photo was taken on November 29, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada
I met Wanderlei Silva when he first came to Las Vegas for UFC 79 fight week, in which he was to make his debut in the UFC against Chuck Liddell. When I first got the nerve to approach him dude looked me up and down like I was lunch meat and he wanted to stomp me out, so I literally walked backwards.
As a matter of fact, everyone in his camp looked hungry and angry so I abandoned the idea of photographing him all together. I talked to several people about him and they all said he was nice and friendly but that’s not the vibe I got. We locked eyes a few times but I always pretended like I was looking past him. Dude just looked mean.
Once the fight was over, I saw him backstage and he walked right up to me. Stitches in his face, tissue in his nose he said… “My friend. You want to talk to me? You got something to say? I’m a nice guy..okaaaay. You can talk to me. Just not before the fight. Okaaaay? You are with the other guy, so now the fight is over, Noooow we can talk. What can I do?
I explained how I wanted to photograph him and he said..
I’m still in Brazil but I am going to build a gym here in Vegas or California. One I get here to the USA we can connect then. Ok?
We exchanged info, kept in touch and I reconnected with him once he moved to Las Vegas as he did his training camp for UFC 92 against Rampage Jackson, who he brutally beat in PRIDE. He was training in his space that was going to become his gym. It was a concrete floor, an octagon, 2 training dummies, pads and mats, a tractor tire, some chains and a treadmill.
It was super Raw. Unfiltered. Pure Ax Murderer.
My goal in this shoot was to capture the essence of The Ax Murderer that the fans of PRIDE had grown to know and love and Wanderlei was all about it.
We had a fun time and we became really great friends over the years. Whenever I see him, it’s always a great catch up session.
This is a Limited Edition Giclee on cotton fiber paper.
Photographer Eric Williams signed the artwork in the presence of a Notary Public
EDITION SIZE IS LIMITED TO ONLY 10 PIECES.
The image size is 20 x 24
Approximate framed size 25 3/4 x 29 3/4