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The UFC, Nevada State Athletic Commission, and Wanderlei Silva’s future

By Zach Arnold | May 28, 2014

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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.

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?

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.

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 12 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

12 Responses to “The UFC, Nevada State Athletic Commission, and Wanderlei Silva’s future”

  1. Brad W says:

    In most sports refusing/dodging a drug test is the same as failing one – assuming it’s true that Wanderlei did in fact refuse/avoid a test, that would explain why the NSAC won\’t even consider licencing him in the 17th.

    I assume that this has all been hashed out with the UFC behind closed doors, and that Vitor being licensed is a mere formality.

  2. Jon says:

    Sonnen saying his fight with Vitor is a #1 contender’s fight has got to be shtick. Chael has not won a fight at 185 since the controversial Bisping decision that gave him the second shot at Anderson.

    Let Jacare and Rockhold square off for the next shot if Belfort somehow magically loses to Chael.

    As for Wanderlei, what’s hilarious is Chael calling this turn of events months ago. No surprise but it’s hilarious that Belfort “minus TRT” is back in Vegas here for a battle of depleted testosterone for the first time since his loss to Anderson three years ago.

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    - The UFC loves to have the same 4 or 5 fighters in a weight division fight for the title over and over again.

    - Belfort pissed hot for the 2nd time in his career and is fighting less then 6 months later. That is bad bad bad.

    - Wanderlei Silva is straight up ducking Chael Sonnen.

  4. Chris says:

    So Sonnen and Belfort actually come out looking that the “Good Guys”, relatively speaking. You can’t make this stuff up!

  5. david lebold says:

    FS1 Pravda, haha that is accurate. It is certainly not journalism. It is propaganda, you can not have employee’s interviewing their boss and be legit. Thankfully I live in Canada and only see it when it spills onto UFC broadcasts.
    Vitor is the savior who’d have thunk, maybe he is jesus.

    What about Ali Bagautinov and his positive test. Will he be able to get licensed in B.C.?

  6. klown says:

    This twist is incredible.

  7. Chuck says:

    I know this is off-topic, but Sherdog is reporting that the Bellator ppv may have went over 100,000 buys. Great number for the little amount of marketing and promotion there was for the show. It came from an “anonymous source” because said source isn’t authorized to release buy rate data.

  8. rst says:

    Eh, Wanderlei will be alright.
    Its not as if they’ve kept him (or Chael) around this long because he’s a contender.

    He’s still got name value and punching power.


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