This is a short but hugely revealing interview with one of the most compelling figures in the sport of mixed martial arts. For a long time Thiago Silva couldn’t speak English and so his personality was hidden behind a language barrier and a seriously intimidating visage.

Over the last two years he has been working very hard on his English skills and is now fluent. That has allowed him to give insights like this one. Silva’s childhood sounds like a nightmare, a harrowing ordeal that thankfully a relatively small percentage go through. He says he is happy now, but his eyes tell a different story…

“My dad was very aggressive. He used to beat me a lot, for nothing. Like he was watching TV, I was playing with my bother, I run in front of the TV and he would grab the belt and hit me. I don’t like to remember [the beatings; one time] he grabbed a piece of wood and hit me on my hand to break my fingers… some crazy sh-t.”

Did you ever re-establish contact with your parents?

“They contacted my wife but, to be honest…

“I don’t hate them but they never helped me with anything. They didn’t even support me with words. Its hard. Sometimes a couple of my friends are like, ‘why are you so mad with them?’ The thing is, nobody felt what I felt.

“I don’t care any more. I have my life I have my own family I have my friends. I have everything I need here, I don’t need to get anything from the past.”