Thiago Silva's Life Outside the Cage Keeps Him from Absolute Glory

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 7, 2014

Oct 9, 2013; Barueri, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Thiago Silva (black shorts) is checked on during his fight against Matt Hamill (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night 29 at Jose Correa Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

UFC fighter Thiago Silva has been known for his savage-like brutality in the cage and roadblocks outside of the cage that have stymied momentum in his fight career. Another one of those roadblocks has come up.

On Thursday evening, Silva was arrested in Florida on multiple charges for threatening people at a jiu-jitsu gym and then participating in a standoff with police at his home.

This is just the latest trouble for the UFC veteran, whose outside life keeps interfering with his in-cage career that should be so much more than it is. Had it not been for multiple self-inflicted damage, he could easily be a top star in the UFC light heavyweight division.

His history of out-of-the-cage problems has held him back from being not only a top-10 fighter, but even a top-five fighter in the UFC light heavyweight division. Not only that, but the UFC has continually given the troubled Brazilian all the chances in the world to clean up his act.

Let's take a walk down memory lane and look at the peaks and valleys of Silva's roller-coaster career.

Silva entered the UFC as a highly-touted 9-0 prospect with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, powerful striking and a reputation as one of the scariest men in MMA.

His early UFC career shadowed his pre-UFC career. He went 4-0 to start his UFC tenure, finishing all four men in devastating fashion. Those four fights came before a loss to Lyoto Machida, where he was finished with just one second left in the first round.

It was a respectable loss though. Machida was on his way to a title shot and Silva just got caught.

He came back to destroy Keith Jardine, before taking a headlining spot on a pay-per-view opposite Rashad Evans. He lost, but it was a good outing nonetheless.

Then, the craziness came. 

After spending an extended amount of time off due to injury, Silva came back to take on Brandon Vera. He utterly decimated Vera, looking incredibly intimidating in the process. However, he submitted a false urine sample in a mandated drug test and was suspended for one whole year.

He would come back and take a short-notice replacement bout in the headlining card in Sweden against Alexander Gustafsson. Despite losing, the UFC gave him another chance knowing his potential could be the ultimate payoff.

He would run into trouble again. Competing in the first-ever China card, Silva would submit Stanislav Nedkov, earning himself a Submission of the Night bonus in the process. That win would be overturned yet again and his bonus stripped, as he failed another drug test for marijuana.

Again, he would be suspended, this time for just six months. But, these suspensions and layoffs due to injury were taking away precious time in a promising career.

He finds himself on a current two-fight win streak over Rafael Cavalcante and Matt Hamill. The win over Cavalcante got him back in a positive light, as the fight earned him Fight and Knockout of the Night honors. It was truly a throwback performance to a time when we didn't know the frustratingly difficult situations he would later put us through.

He then came in out of shape and overweight against Hamill, but still outclassed the former UFC contender. We were willing to forgive Silva, mostly because he still won the fight as a pudgy, overweight light heavyweight.

Now, we must deal with the fallout of his current problem. He is scheduled to fight Ovince St. Preux next month at UFC 171, but that now lays in jeopardy. Even if the fight goes on, one has to think a loss would mean a cut of ties with the UFC, who must be growing weary of the constant issues of this fighter.

So, his only losses come to former champions Machida, Evans and top contender Gustafsson. And despite the interruptions for injury, coming in out of shape and the failed drug tests, Silva is still in the top-15 in the UFC 205-pound class.

He could easily be top 10, but he is getting in his own way. If he was truly disciplined, he could make a run at the title in a division dying for contenders.

Instead, he can't keep his head on straight and continues to fight in the middle of the card when he could be making a run at co-main and main events of important cards.

It's just a shame that his talent, raw power and toughness get overshadowed by a history of questionable behavior and decisions.