(*sigh* What could’ve been…)
Wanderlei Silva’s sudden withdrawal from his UFC 175 clash with bitter rival Chael Sonnen came as a surprising, if not foreseeable turn of events yesterday. Despite his willingness to throw down with Sonnen on the TUF Brazil 3 set or at a Mr. Olympia event, Wandy has been a bit more trepidatious when it’s come to actually signing on the dotted line, resulting in the grudge match being shuffled between three different cards.
It was originally believed that the reason behind Wanderlei’s removal from UFC 175 was that he simply no-showed for his pre-fight medical exams. However, today brings a few developments that would lead one to the conclusion that Silva never planned on fighting Sonnen in the first place. According to MMAFighting, Silva both failed to apply for a fight license despite being given “ample time,” and when asked to partake in a random drug test at UFC 173 last weekend, flat-out refused to do so.
Sonnen, who was also in attendance at UFC 173 and subsequently tested, spoke with Kenny Florian on UFC Tonight yesterday and recounted the rather bizarre scene. Caution: Take this story with a grain of salt, because Chael Sonnen:
Wanderlei has operated his entire career under the shadow of suspicion that he was using performance enhancing drugs. However he has never failed a drug test, so we don’t speculate on those types of things. That clean record came to a screeching halt on Saturday night. Not only did he fail his test, he refused to take the test, and as you know a refusal is equal in the eyes of the commission to a failure. He ran from the test, Kenny, and I don’t mean that figuratively, I mean they came to his gym and he literally ran. He goes out of a side door, they go after him saying his name.
I have not spoke to the athletic commission in Nevada, so here I am going to speculate that they will revoke his license, and perhaps his career in the UFC will be done.
I suppose it doesn’t help Silva’s case that he was acting like a roided-out lunatic for the majority of TUF Brazil 3, or that he brought in this thing as a guest coach. Seriously, standing within 20 feet of that thing is sure to give you a contact steroid high at the minimum.
Sonnen also confirmed on UFC Tonight that, although his fight with replacement opponent Vitor Belfort will be held at light heavyweight, the winner will receive a shot at the winner of UFC 175′s main event: Chris Weidman vs. Lyoto Machida. Translation: The UFC is very aware that Sonnen is a dead man walking here, and this is the simplest way they can think of to get Vitor back in the title picture. Honestly, we’ve seen worse.
There is one tiny little problem that could put the kibosh on Sonnen vs. Belfort, though: Belfort has yet to be licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and has not fought in the States since 2011. Luckily, MMAFighting has the scoop on that issue as well:
According to (NSAC) Executive Director Robert Bennett, Vitor Belfort submitted an application to fight in the state of Nevada last week.
Belfort’s application will undergo a “comprehensive review” at a June 17 meeting of NSAC officials, and while Bennett stated that no decision will be reached until the date of the meeting, he acknowledged that the commission will likely require Belfort to undergo supplementary drug testing before the commission reviews his license.
So there you have it: The middleweight champion and his next challenger will both be determined at UFC 175, and the future remains uncertain for Wanderlei Silva. Personally, I just hope that Wandy is able to overcome whatever demons he is battling, because a setback like this seems like the precursor to a Thiago Silva-esque freak out.