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D-Day for Antonio Silva coming up – Sengoku or US MMA career

By Zach Arnold | December 6, 2008

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Undoubtedly, there is financial pressure on Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva to take Sengoku’s offer to fight on January 4th at Saitama Super Arena and risk losing his license to fight in America due to his drug suspension.

I have no idea what kind of money Sengoku is offering Silva, but there’s not a lot of momentum heading into the January 4th event in Saitama. Sengoku has never officially released any attendance figures for past shows at Saitama Super Arena, so the houses are not exactly setting the world on fire business-wise.

Combine Sengoku’s lackluster live gates with news that Zombie Elite XC may become shinsei (newborn) Elite XC and Silva’s in a real rut. He was Elite XC’s heavyweight champion, after all, and if Elite XC finds new ownership and the CBS TV deal is revived… suddenly Silva may be needed to fight for the promotion. Why is this development important? Because if you believe past media reports, Silva was making over $100,000 USD a fight for Elite XC. Is Sengoku going to be able to match that kind of offer? Maybe they offer Silva $50,000 USD maximum to appear, but what opponents is he going to face in Japan? The only semi-marketable match-up on the table for him is a fight against Josh Barnett, a fight in which he’ll likely lose. Then what?

The situation for Silva would be different if he was fighting on the K-1 show at Saitama Super Arena, because that event will be carried on Tokyo Broadcasting System and have a very large audience on NYE. The Sengoku show, which will air on TV-Tokyo, will not nearly have the same audience size as K-1’s big event.

Let me close by stating the following… Antonio Silva will certainly bring more value to Sengoku (if he works for that organization) than Gilbert Yvel will ever bring to Affliction. It’s absurd that Affliction is even considering negotiations with Yvel at this point. Maybe if it was 1997 and we’re talking about his RINGS days…

Update: Silva says he’s headed to Sengoku. This is going to turn out very ugly for him in various levels, in my opinion. Silva made a statement about how he has a ‘high cost of living.’ He lives in Florida, where there’s no state income tax. He trains at one of the best gyms in the country. His contract in Elite XC was reportedly $100k to show and $100k to win. Something doesn’t add up.

Topics: Japan, Media, MMA, Pro Elite, Zach Arnold | 18 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

18 Responses to “D-Day for Antonio Silva coming up – Sengoku or US MMA career”

  1. SB says:

    But didnt Josh Barnett skip out on his suspension and fight overseas. Yes… Yes he did so a standard has already been set. silva will probably just have to pass his next test if/when he decides to fight in america again and he’ll be fine.

  2. If EliteXC was smart, they’d have released him from his contract the second he asked. Overpriced and the steroid allegations will dog him for years. No place for him in a fiscally sane organization.

  3. ilostmydog says:

    SB: Josh Barnett escaped to Japan but he did not fight MMA there during the duration of his suspension. He did pro-wrestling instead and only fought an MMA match ~14-15 months after he was suspended.

  4. Chuck says:

    Who in WVR is Silva going to fight? I guess they can get Kazuyuki Fujita or maybe even Travis Wuiff. King Mo maybe?

  5. D.Capitated says:

    Nakao was the opponent they wanted for Silva. He’s not a terrible opponent either: 7-1 overall, last two wins over undefeated Jim York and 9-1 Edison Drago.

  6. JThue says:

    Has it not been made very clear in the past, by the likes of Bill Douglas of the CSAC, that there can and will be no negative reaction against the fighter in a situation like this? What exactly can they use against him? There’s nothing illegal about fighting in an unsanctioned area whilst under suspension in another specific sanctioned area, and there’s no problem fighting for Sengoku specifically either, since they have never even applied for a US Promotor Licence.

    Again, what(and how) exactly about this is going to get Antonio Silva in trouble anywhere?

  7. JThue says:

    Clarification: Nothing indicates that he will have problems with getting a new fighters license in CA after the suspension is up. Nothing indicates that this will hurt him in the long run. If Silva makes $100.000 fighting in Japan for the next six months and is fined $20.000 upon getting relincenced in CA, it’s still a win for Silva, particularly since his US value has dropped significantly anyway.

  8. Steve Barry says:

    The Silva interview Japan-MMA pulled that story from is dated two days before the Sherdog story where the CSAC says they will revoke his license, so it would seem that there’s the possibility he could be reconsidering in light of the CSAC’s threats.

  9. Pontus says:

    Is Silva really that desperate for cash? You would think that a fighter that earned 100/100 would put some away for a rainy day.

  10. Dave says:

    Pontus, he is a fighter. Fighters in the prime of their careers tend to not save money. He probably thought the money would never stop flowing.

  11. joeblow says:

    Here are a few possible opponents:

    Barnett, Nastula, Nakao, Gracie, Fujita

    Also, Vitor didn’t seem to have any trouble when he was suspended by NSAC, fought in Cage Rage, and was then licensed in California.

  12. dave2 says:

    Vitor’s NSAC license already expired end of 2006, before he fought at Cage Rage. So he had no license to revoke. That’s why Vitor was allowed to fight in America again. Big Foot needs to suck it up for 6 more months. He can’t afford to jeopardize any chance of an American MMA career. I doubt he’d ever see 100/100 again from another American MMA org again unless Affliction miraculously survives. lol. But the industry is too unstable in Japan to risk blackballing yourself from American MMA. What if WVR folds after losing too much money and FEG gets a Yakuza Scandal? (ok considering that FEG is much, much bigger than DSE ever was, they’d be able to buy out the authorities probably but you never know) Then what?

  13. D.Capitated says:

    You can say the same things here. What if a fighter is killed as a result of a UFC bout and it brings the sport to its knees? People who make 200,000 in a single night tend to spend money as if that is going to be a long term sum of money they’ll make, and I doubt Silva is any different. He should go to Japan, make his money, and then when he comes back here he can put around fighting in states like Florida, Illinois, and Texas where commissions are weaker and more likely to approve him. Remember that his US debut was in a gulf coast state that didn’t require CT scans or drug testing, allowing him to fight with a tumor in his brain.

  14. dave2 says:

    Unfortunately many fighters don’t know anything about financial management. Though I’d tend to think that MMA fighters are smarter about money than boxers considering how educated the MMA fighter base is. I don’t envision Jon Fitch or Josh Koscheck irresponsibly blowing their money like Mike Tyson did. Though I could see a Phil Baroni or Antonio Silva blowing their money.

  15. ilostmydog says:

    I know that many elective surgeries in the states are pretty expensive and many brain surgeries are as well. Perhaps he is still trying to pay off the costs of having his pituitary tumour removed?

  16. dave2 says:

    Did he have his surgery in the US? Brazil has public health care. Why have it done in the US?

  17. Chuck says:

    “Did he have his surgery in the US? Brazil has public health care. Why have it done in the US?”

    Probably because, while Brazil’s is free, the US has BETTER health services. And he probably had the money to get it done right then and there. Many Canadians (rich ones for the most part) get their surgeries and the like in the States

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