By Zach Arnold | May 28, 2014
Over the past couple of months, Chael Sonnen went through a Nevada hearing to get cleared to fight because he’s over the age of 35. This is standard operating procedure. Dan Henderson did the same thing. Mysteriously, Wanderlei Silva did not. His name has not been on any Nevada meeting agendas.
According to NSAC Exec. Director Robert Bennett, Wanderlei Silva had "ample time" to file for a license to fight in Nevada & chose not to.
— Shaun Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) May 28, 2014
Nevada will have a meeting on June 17th. Here’s the kicker: Vitor Belfort will have a license hearing that day to replace Wanderlei Silva as Chael Sonnen’s opponent for the July UFC event in Las Vegas. And yet the same commission & promoter is not allowing Wanderlei Silva to get paperwork prepared before that same June 17th meeting?
Wanderlei missed exames and his license was denied. Belfort did all the exams and tested negative for them all.
— Ivan Raupp (@IvanRaupp) May 28, 2014
Remember the context here for the UFC event in July: Chris Weidman was supposed to fight Vitor Belfort in May. Then came the avalanche of negative press coverage (listen to our recent interview with Josh Gross on this topic) about the testosterone plague in UFC and the reversal on testosterone passes. Lyoto Machida is named as the replacement for Belfort to fight Weidman in May. Weidman injures his knee and the fight is pushed to July. Vitor lost his title shot and had a drug testing issue with Nevada. He wasn’t licensed.
Six months after that licensing issue, here comes Vitor back to Nevada to fight on a card where he originally was going to get a title shot against Weidman. Instead, Vitor will now fight Chael Sonnen in the ultimate testosterone death match at 205 pounds. And Wanderlei Silva, who needed to be approved to fight Sonnen because he’s over 35, won’t be approved by the same commission that is about to approve Vitor?
On FS1 Pravda (UFC Tonight), Chael Sonnen “broke” the news of opponent change. Sonnen claimed that Wanderlei Silva ran away from taking a Nevada drug test at his “gym” and that Wanderlei’s UFC career is finished. Sonnen vs. Vitor will be a #1 challenger’s match to face the winner of Weidman/Machida.