This is very refreshing. Brazilian mixed martial artist and current UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson "The Spider" Silva is very frank about his childhood in interviews with Fighters Only Magazine and the Brazilian edition of Playboy. Silva reveals that his adolescent gender non-conformity, voice and mannerisms caused many people to question his sexuality.
"A lot of people thought I was gay,” Anderson Silva admits. It has been observed numerous times over the years that the middleweight champion has an unusually high-pitched voice for such an alpha male and Silva says that when he was a teenager, more than one person thought he was gay.
That probably wasn’t helped by the fact that until around the age of 14 he thought it was "normal" to allow his sister to dress him up with girl’s clothes and play with dolls. "We would wear a dress, put on her shoes," the UFC champion tells Tatame with admirable frankness. "And because I am very vain about my appearance, and have a high voice, a lot of people were sure I was gay."
Silva's comments are a welcome change to the homophobic tone in the hyper-masculine and homoerotic world of mixed martial arts. In June 2010, mixed martial arts champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson was forced to apologize after a series of homophobic tirades. Mixed martial artist Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone publicly announced that he would "kill" his "fag" opponent several months later. And in February 2011, fighter Michael Bisping called opponent Jorge Rivera a "faggot motherf____r" during a promotional video.
The remarks are even more important coming from Anderson Silva, who is perhaps the most high profile MMA/UFC fighter. Anderson is the franchise's longest reigning champion, is ranked as the world's top middleweight and has been called "the greatest mixed martial artist ever."