Wanderlei Silva is one of the most adored fighters in MMA history, but is unfortunately running on thin ice with the UFC after refusing a randomized drug test. The tense situation has resulted in Silva being removed from his match with Chael Sonnen on the 175 card, and presently many rumors are floating around that the famous “Ax Murderer” may be cut by the organization altogether. White clarified the status on Silva earlier today during a scrum with the media, stating that Wanderlei has been removed from the UFC 175 card, but has not been officially cut by the company. The match up between him and Chael Sonnen was one of the most anticipated fights coming up on the stacked 175 card on July 5. On any other card the Silva versus Sonnen bout would be a headliner, but when champions Ronda Rousey and Chris Weidman are involved in matches on the same night; sometimes one just must accept the inevitable lower placement on the card.
The 37 year old decorated slugger is coming off a year long lay off from fighting, and has not fought in the UFC since March of last year when he knocked out Brian Stann. The Brian Stann fight was most certainly a memorable highlight during his roller coaster ride of consistency for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Brazilian veteran has a career record of 5-7 in the organization, and was just coming off his first stint as a coach on the “Ultimate Fighter Brazil” Series; where he was paired up against the “American Gangster” Chael Sonnen. The two had one of the most heated rivalries ever on the UFC’s reality series. Quite realistically, that is where all the negative attention has come from ever since. Coming into the series with a trash talker like Sonnen, Silva must have known what exactly he was getting into; coaching opposite one of the best self promoters in the game. The tension was clear from the start between the two, and eventually the disrespect spilled out into a brawl on set of the show; resulting in Silva injuring his back and hand. Sonnen has stapled the antagonist label across his chest for years, so when Sonnen accused Silva of smelling like “booze” when arriving on set; and discrediting the famed pride fighter’s accomplishments throughout the years, Silva should have turned a cold shoulder but did not.
The two spent the last week promoting their up coming fight about a month away, where once again; both Sonnen and Silva exchanged some heated words, while also having to be separated by Dana White when they went in for the face off. Not long after reports flooded the internet, accusing Silva of dodging the NSAC’s random drug testing; solidifying Sonnen’s comment he made quite awhile before, stating that somehow Silva will find a way out of this fight. Wanderlei submitted a video not long after the TUF Brazil Finale weigh ins, proclaiming his innocence from the situation. During a portion of the video Silva indicated that the men who demanded the test did not provide identification on who they were; which led to him not signing documents they provided to him. To many it seems like this could be far fetched story from the former Pride champion, but Silva has been always been known to be a very honorable and respectful human being; it is hard to disapprove of his statements made earlier today with any past engagements.
In any case, the fall of the “Ax Murderer” seems imminent after this whole debacle. Silva has been replaced by another Brazilian fighter who has issues of his own with the NSAS, Vitor Belfort. If Belfort fails to gain a license to fight in Nevada, any potential scrap involving Sonnen may be scrapped for a future event. As Dana White stated, there is no “Plan B” if Vitor is not able to gain a license; a fight card like UFC 175 would be able to sustain the loss if need be though. This is very unfortunate for a fighter who is one of the most well known names in the fighting industry. Many think of an intimidating and dominating force of a man when thinking of Wanderlei Silva, but the situation has come to this. Silva fans hold out hope that the legend can dig himself out of this large rut he found himself in, UFC fighters who have looked up to him for years most likely hope for a positive outcome as well; but who knows. The more stringent drug testing has become more evident then ever, Silva must clear that hurdle before even thinking of a return to the cage.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer Covering MMA