Things just took another interesting turn in the ongoing dispute between Wanderlei Silva and the UFC. The former Pride Champion and UFC headliner has been persona-non-grata since fleeing drug testing officials in the lead up to his bout with Chael Sonnen following the two men’s stint on the Ultimate Fighter. Because of his failure to submit to random drug testing, Silva was handed a lifetime ban from competition by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. That sentence has since been overturned in the courts, but in the year since his ban Silva has entrenched himself against the UFC with a war of words that has been continually escalating.
An outspoken critic of the UFC’s clauses controlling image rights, their recent out-of-competition drug testing plans, and the UFC’s new Reebok uniforms, Silva may have just crossed a new line. In a set of posts on Facebook, Silva accused the UFC of hosting fixed fights, implying heavily that the UFC themselves are in on the fix, and that he has proof. Here’s what Silva had to say in an initial post (translation via MMAJunkie):
“They fired him. That’s right. They fired ‘Stitch’ for standing against this theft being perpetrated on the athletes. So I wonder, ‘why don’t they fire me?’ I already said I do not want to, nor will I work any more for to this promotion. And they won’t dismiss me. That’s what happens to those who speak the truth in this company; they’re driven out. They have no respect for anyone. I’ve made it very clear to you all that I will never again fight for this promotion, the U.F. Circus. Fixed fights – and I can prove it! I haven’t yet dropped the bomb. I haven’t said everything I know!”
And in a followup, making his implications more direct that it’s the UFC themselves behind the fight fixing:
“Either you do what they tell you, or you’re fired. I won’t give up until they free the athletes. This promoter is killing our sport. There are fighters going back to work to support their families because they can’t live from the sport alone. They’re very poorly paid. We are getting organized and soon I’ll have news for my brothers in the ring. This will not stand! Some have tried to buy me, but I am not, nor have I ever been for sale. And I will fight to the end, to unmask these promoters, who are deceiving the public, cheating, and taking the dignity and the honor from our sport! This is turning a pro-wrestling show with fixed fights. We have to stop these guys because that’s the end of the line for us!”
Those are some serious accusations for him to level and it will be interesting to see if the UFC takes direct legal action, or what evidence Silva can in fact produce. It’s one thing for him to criticize the UFC’s business moves and for him to claim that his career has been torpedoed unjustly, but he’s now effectively accusing the UFC of breaking the law to a pretty serious extent. If there is any merit behind his statements the fallout could be huge. If there isn’t, the fallout for Silva himself could be every bit as damaging.
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