(Thiago Silva and Thaysa Kamiji Silva in…happier times, I guess? / Photo via Ryan Loco)
By Sydnie Jones
Editor-in-chief of WomensMMA.com
UFC light-heavyweight Thiago Silva was cut from the UFC back in February after he had a standoff with a SWAT team, following an incident outside of the Pablo Popovitch Mixed Martial Arts Academy in Fort Lauderdale. Here’s how it started, per Thaysa Silva’s and Pablo Popovitch’s statements to police:
(Thaysa Silva) and victim #2 Pablo Popovitch were inside the center when she observed the defendant driving his vehicle, a 2012 Dodge Charger bearing FL TAG G7ARY. She could see the defendant pull up to the center because the entire store front is clear glass. The defendant then started honking the vehicle horn continuously. She then went outside to speak with him to avoid a confrontation since victim Silva and victim Popovitch are in a romantic relationship. The defendant is aware of this relationship and this fact contributed to his actions. She approached the defendant which was driving, and when she was approached the driver side, he rolled down the window. She immediately noticed that he had been drinking and extremely intoxicated. He then produced a black glock firearm and pointed it at the victim. He stated, You have ten seconds to bring Pablo outside and if he does not come out, I will go in the gym and start shooting everyone. It should be known there was a class in session with approximately 25 students inside. Victim Popovitch then exited the center to protect victim Silva from harm. He then approached the driver’s side of the vehicle and observed the defendant pointing the firearm above the door frame at the victim Silva. The defendant threatened to kill both victim Silva and victim Popivitch. Popovitch then ran back into the gym, locked the front door, and called 911. The defendant then drove away.
And then, on September 5th, the UFC re-signed Thiago Silva in a dazzling demonstration of ignorance, tone-deafness, and who knows what the fuck. The decision is almost entirely incomprehensible, despite Dana White’s meager efforts to explain it:
“But he was acquitted of all charges. How do you not let the guy fight again?
“He went through the legal process and came out of it untainted. He deserves to be able to make a living again. He’s back under contract.”
A) He was not acquitted of all charges. The charges have been dismissed with the announcement of a nolle prosequi, which is not an acquittal. Nolle prosequi is the decision not to prosecute those charges at that time. It doesn’t necessarily mean never, and it is possible to re-indict someone on the same charges.
B) The UFC isn’t some benevolent foundation dedicated to all that is fair and just, as White’s appeal seems to suggest. Otherwise, Ben Askren would be currently fighting in the UFC, and Anthony Johnson would’ve been banned from the promotion long ago. To re-sign Silva with that rationale is disingenuous and hollow.
C) Silva did not go through “the legal process.” He got out on bail, Thaysa Silva fled the country, and the charges were dropped.