Antonio Silva Made Offers for Stateside Return

By Tony Loiseleur Sep 21, 2009
TOKYO – Antonio Silva’s exile to Japan is all but over, he says.

Silva, who faces Jim York on Sept. 22 at World Victory Road’s “Sengoku Tenth Battle” at the Super Saitama Arena, said his steroid suspension in California expired on July 27, and that he is in negotiations with several promotions to return to stateside action.

The 30-year-old Brazilian was suspended after testing positive for Boldenone following his July 2008 heavyweight championship contest against Justin Eilers at an EliteXC event in Stockton, Calif.

Silva, who has adamantly denied ever taking steroids, also filed a civil suit against the California State Athletic Commission to overrule the state agency’s suspension. The Los Angeles Superior Court upheld the CSAC’s sentence in April.

The American Top Team heavyweight spoke with Sherdog.com regarding the latest with his suspension, recent negotiations with U.S.-based promotions, as well as potentially fighting a teammate when he finally makes his return stateside.

Sherdog: You mentioned earlier your troubles with the CSAC were potentially resolved. Last time most of us heard from you, you had just taken up the CSAC in a civil suit. Was that successful and are you now able to fight in the states again?

Silva: Unfortunately, I tried everything I could to show the CSAC that I was innocent, but I wasn’t able to. Since the 27th of July though, I’ve been able to fight again in the states, and that’s what I look forward to.

Sherdog: So the actual extent of the suspension lasted until July 27, and now that that’s past, you’re able to go back to the states at any time to compete?

Silva: After the 27th, yes, there was no extension, no other fights, nothing. So I’m able to fight now in the U.S.

Sherdog: You also mentioned earlier that you were in talks with stateside promotions in the hopes of planning a return, mentioning interest in promotions such as the UFC and Strikeforce. Are you in talks with either of them?

Silva: I do have some contracts in-hand right now, and we’re negotiating now. I’m looking at them, evaluating which one is best.

Sherdog: Can you tell us which promotions they are from?

Silva: (Laughs) Right now, I can’t say which ones, but real soon, everyone will know.

Sherdog: Another fighter who has been flagged by the CSAC and is now fighting in Sengoku is Josh Barnett. Were you surprised to hear he had trouble with the CSAC as well?

Silva: I was very surprised because he was supposed to fight Fedor (Emelianenko). Everyone was watching, and he got caught before the fight, so that really surprised me.

Sherdog: It seems that you and Barnett are on a collision course in Sengoku, most likely for the heavyweight title. What are your thoughts on a potential fight with Barnett, maybe some time toward the end of this year?

Silva: I’ll fight whoever Sengoku gives me to fight, since they’re the ones who pay me. But if I could choose, I’d choose Barnett.

Sherdog: Does your contract with Sengoku allow you to fight over there while still signed to them?

Silva: Yes.

Sherdog: What are your thoughts on the heavyweight division in the U.S.? While you’ve been gone, several notable heavyweights have broken onto the scene.

Silva: It’s a division that’s coming up really fast with a lot of good fighters. They’re not all just big guys who get tired too quickly -- a lot of these guys are fast and their conditioning is good. I hope for the best and want to see many more good fighters.

Sherdog: You mentioned Satoshi Ishii earlier, and that if he continued training at American Top Team, that it would be difficult for you to fight him. ATT also has bright young talents like Todd Duffee training with you. Do you ever foresee a time in the future where it might be difficult to fight guys because everyone is coming to ATT?

Silva: Fighters will be fighters. We’re always going to have fighters all over the place, and if we have good fighters coming to ATT, all the better for the team. We have top, world-class fighters in almost every division at ATT, and I’m hoping to become that “top, world-class fighter” at heavyweight for us. That’s all we’re missing now.

Sherdog: If ATT develops a bunch of top heavyweight fighters, would you be able to find a way to not fight each other?

Silva: At ATT, we all help each other. It doesn’t matter. If I have to help make Todd the best in the world, I’m going to do that. We’re all brothers there. That’s what makes ATT different from other team: everybody helps everybody.
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