Former Pride Grand Prix Champion and 12 fight UFC vet Wanderlei Silva was released today from his UFC contract. Silva last fought in March 2013, knocking out Brian Stann in the 2nd round of a Fuel TV show from Japan. He was then scheduled to fight Chael Sonnen in a fight stemming off the two of them coaching on TUF Brazil. The fight was put off several times due to injuries and then drug testing issues with both fighters.
First reported by MMAjunkie's Steven Marrocco .
In Silva’s case, he was approached at his gym by drug testers and famously ran out the back door to avoid the test. He was eventually given a lifetime ban by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. That ban has since been rescinded and both sides are currently in negotiations for a more appropriate punishment. In the meantime Silva has still been at odds with the organization he’s under contract to, including accusing the UFC of fixing fights.
This morning, word actually came out that Silva was taking back those claims, saying that he’d been misunderstood. A few hours later, word came out that Silva had been released.
For several years in the early 2000’s, “The Axe Murderer” was one of the most feared fighters in any weight class. After losing to Tito Ortiz at UFC 25 in April 2000, Silva had a stretch of 18 fights in a row where he didn’t suffer a loss before losing a split decision to the much larger Mark Hunt on the 2004 Pride year-end show. 14 of those fights ended with Silva KO’ing his opponent, most in the first round.
Silva returned to UFC in December 2007 after Zuffa bought Pride and absorbed the fighter contracts. He went 4-5 after his return with 3 knockouts. All but one of those fights was in the Main Event or co-Main event position. He leaves the UFC with an overall record of 35-12-1 and would almost certainly be highly sought after by either Rizin Fighting or Bellator MMA.