Cyborg, Evangelista Santos
Evangelista Santos in the hospital. Photo posted by Cris Cyborg/Instagram.

You know how they say it’s difficult to give up something you love? Well after suffering one of the most graphic knockouts ever, Evangelista Santos still isn’t ready to throw in the towel on his MMA career.

Evangelista Santos, better known inside the cage as ‘Cyborg’, incurred a depressed skull fracture at the hands (more so knee) of Michael ‘Venom’ Page when they fought inside the Bellator cage at the O2 Arena in London last year. 

It was a serious injury which immediately grabbed headlines, further heightened by the fact ‘Cyborg’ was 38-years-old. Santos successfully underwent reconstructive surgery days after the horrendous incident, but it was evident that his road to recovery would be a long and difficult one.  

Wise enough to know when to call it quits (save the irony for later) Cyborg officially announced his retirement in January 2017, a decision which was welcomed and commended by a large part of the MMA community. 

However, it seems the panging hunger which helped Cybrog reach a 39-fight milestone in his career has returned, with Santos admitting to kickboxing reporter K1Anoop that he’s considering a return to action next year.  

“Maybe, maybe. I want it,” answered Cyborg when questioned about fighting again. He then finished by saying, “for next year maybe, maybe I will fight again.”

In London to corner his Chute Boxe compatriot Saulo Cavalari at Phoenix Fighting Championships, Santos still has a very close day-to-day relationship with martial arts, and that may be the problem. 

Should Evangelista Santos stick to his guns, he will be 40-years-old by the time he fights again, a daunting prospect in a sport now largely dominated by 20-somethings. 

Since his retirement, Santos has eluded to the allure of money bringing him back to the sport, especially with a growing family to support. And with combat sports offering opportunities to earn considerable sums in 15 minutes or less, it’s an understanding appeal, regardless of the damning possibilities.

Whether the Brazilian veteran decides to make a comeback or not is an issue to be handled as and if it happens, but should it come to fruition, one can only hope that the integrity of both MMA organisations and state athletic commissions are upheld. 

Cyborg comes from an era of athletes in the late 1990s who have publically struggled to call it a day. As long as promotions like Bellator MMA continue to entertain the idea of old-boys such as Wanderlei Silva, Ken ShamrockRoyce Gracie — amongst others — returning for marquee fights, it’s a harrowing prospect which will likely continue until it’s too late.