Wanderlei Silva has yet to receive the green light from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, but the former Pride champ says he’s “totally clean and cleared to fight as soon as possible.”
A little over a month has passed since Silva bailed on a random drug test administered by the NSAC. The shocking deed from the Brazilian legend forced the UFC to remove him from his highly anticipated grudge match with Chael Sonnen at UFC 175. Nearly a year’s worth of hype and promotion came tumbling down right in front of UFC President Dana White’s eyes.
“There’s no way in hell [the NSAC] are letting him off. No way in hell,” White told the media before UFC 174. “They are going to bury Wanderlei Silva. In my humble opinion, they’re going to bury him.”
While the NSAC has yet to announce any form of punishment, Silva appears to be oddly confident he’ll be able to patch things up with the commission.
During an interview with Tatame magazine (h/t MMA Fighting), he claimed that he would be ready to fight in two months:
Life is great. I’m training well. I did a test on my own in Brazil, on June 6, to see if the corticoid and the diuretic were already out of my body. I also tested my testosterone levels. At my age, the level is 180, and I’m at 160. I’m totally clean and cleared to fight as soon as possible. I’m just waiting for the UFC to tell me a date and local. In two months, I will be ready to fight.
Silva hasn’t competed since his second-round knockout of Brian Stann in Japan back in March 2013. Despite the lengthy layoff, he hopes to jump right back into the deep waters of the middleweight division and possibly even contend for the UFC title.
He even dropped a name to make the UFC’s job easier.
“I would like to fight (Luke) Rockhold. He’s a good guy,” said Silva. “He’s coming off wins and is the former Strikeforce champion. I think this (fight) could get me in line for the title. It would be perfect to fight him at Maracanazinho.”
If not Rockhold, Silva admitted that he was also interested in taking a fight against fellow Brazilian and top middleweight contender Vitor Belfort. But the likelihood of that bout coming to fruition is slim considering Belfort is strongly considered to be the next person in line to challenge Chris Weidman for the middleweight title.
The recently retired Sonnen also remains on Silva’s radar.
Many believe Silva has been purposely avoiding a fight with Sonnen. The concept of ducking fights is the greatest insult anyone can ever throw at a professional fighter, especially an MMA legend. Silva hopes to win back his reputation and the hearts of fans by one day giving them the fight they want to see.
Unfortunately, the bout seems like a long shot at this point. Sonnen retired after being fired by the UFC and FOX for testing positive for four banned substances.
In any case, Silva isn’t convinced Sonnen’s time is done in the UFC. He believes Sonnen will sit on the sidelines for a year and return to compete once that time is up.
“He retired because he would be out for a year, but I still think he will be back,” Silva said. “It was not real. When (his suspension) is over, he will be back and we will fight.”
A fight with Sonnen could possibly remove the dark stain left on Silva from the UFC 175 fallout. Regardless of public perception, Silva maintains the stance that he had more to lose by not fighting Sonnen. He claims the bout would have netted one of the biggest fight purses in UFC history.
He also insists that he had personally invested $40,000 in preparation for the fight:
The fans wanted to see this fight. I had invested, from my pocket, approximately 40 thousand dollars in preparation and other stuff. Nobody wanted to know about this. I won’t even mention the money I would make after the fight. It would be one of the biggest purses in the history of the UFC. I’m the one who lost more with this cancellation. Another thing that upsets me is that I saw some headlines saying ‘Wanderlei refuses to do the test, Sonnen is clean.’ I saw this on the internet. Who said he was clean? He was taking it all and then some.
If White is correct, the NSAC could be preparing to lay down the hammer on Silva. Despite his newfound clean bill of health, he did refuse to take a mandatory drug test and admitted through his lawyer to using diuretics.
Perhaps he shouldn’t get too comfortable with the idea of returning soon.
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon.