After “issues related to Wanderlei Silva’s licensing in the state of Nevada,” UFC officials earlier this week confirmed to MMAWekely.com that Silva was removed from the bout with Sonnen. The promotion’s No. 1 middleweight contender, Vitor Belfort, agreed to take his place, pending him getting licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission at a June 17 meeting.
The official response that MMAWeekly.com got from the NSAC was that Silva had never applied for a license, something that Silva acknowledged on Friday. The accusation, however, is that he avoided a surprise drug test requested by the commission. FoxSports.com on Friday reported that “UFC sources” confirmed that Silva evaded testing.
Silva, in a YouTube video on Friday, tried to explain his side of the equation, said that this was “all a big confusion,” and seemed to believe that he still has a shot at fighting Sonnen on July 5. (Watch Wanderlei Silva's video explaining his side here.)
UFC officials later reconfirmed to MMAWeekly.com that Silva has been removed from the fight and that the plan is for Belfort to fight if he gets a license in time. If he does not, UFC president Dana White told a group of reporters in Berlin, according to MMAJunkie.com’s Steven Marrocco, that the fight would be scrapped.
As for the “big confusion,” Silva said that “a guy” showed up at his gym last Saturday with papers for him to sign. He said the papers were in English and that he would not sign them without his attorney present, but then had to leave because it was the day of Renan Barão’s fight and he was very busy.
“In 20 years… I have never refused a test or failed to apply for a license to fight,” he stated. “My plans were to do all of my obligations once I got back from Brazil, since I’m going to Brazil for the TUF Brazil Finale.
“Once I am back in Las Vegas, I will reach out to the NSAC to submit myself to any blood or urine test like I always have done.”
According to UFC officials, even if that were the case, it is too late for Silva. He has been pulled from the July 5 card.
And despite early reports that White said Silva was done with the UFC, that does not appear to be the case. At least, not yet.
UFC officials told Fox Sports that White’s comments were misinterpreted and that when he said, “Wand is done,” White was only referring to the UFC 175 fight card on July 5. The promotion will wait for Silva to hash the situation out with the Nevada commission and then determine what his future does or does not hold in regard to the UFC.