Suspended Silva Opts for Sengoku Fight

By Loretta Hunt Dec 8, 2008
Antonio Silva has accepted an offer to face Yoshihiro Nakao at World Victory Road’s upcoming Sengoku event on Jan. 4 in Saitama, Japan, confirmed his manager Alex Davis on Sunday.

The American Top Team heavyweight’s decision comes in the wake of a letter received last week from California State Athletic Commission Assistant Executive Director Bill Douglas, who said he will recommend Silva’s license be revoked if he does not adhere to a suspension imposed on him last July.

Silva, 28, was suspended for one year after allegedly testing positive for Boldenone following his July 26 contest against Justin Eilers at an EliteXC event in Stockton, Calif.

The EliteXC heavyweight champion, his manager Alex Davis, and world-renowned doping attorney Howard Jacobs appealed the fighter’s sentence on the grounds of a “false positive” at a CSAC hearing on Oct. 22 in Los Angeles. Five commissioners voted to unanimously uphold the suspension through July 27, 2009.

“Antonio has decided to fight, he really has no option,” wrote Davis in an email to “He’s innocent, he’s tried to prove it and it fell on unwilling ears, and he has financial commitments that to not meet would have serious consequences for him. In light of these, he has decided to continue his career in Japan until when and if his situation with the CSAC is resolved.”

If Silva competes, Douglas said the fighter will be in direct violation of a statute within California’s Business and Professions Code. Douglas said he’d be forced to recommend that the commission vote to revoke the Brazilian’s license at a Feb. 10 hearing. If passed, Silva’s California license could be frozen in one-year increments until the commission voted again to reinstatement him. The commission could also vote to not revoke the license, alter Silva’s suspension, and impose a fine.

Douglas said a license revocation would be filed with the National Suspension Registry, and would likely be honored by other regulatory bodies throughout North America.

In addition, any licensed parties found to have aided Silva in competing outside the state while under suspension would be subject to disciplinary action, according to the statutes. Silva’s manager Davis said he is not licensed as a second in California.

Silva has decided to move forward as the future of Pro Elite, the parent company of EliteXC, seems to be coming into focus. In recent weeks, select executives of Pro Elite have made a bid to regain the remaining assets of the Los Angeles company that ceased operations in late October. There is evidence the company will attempt to rise under new ownership and continue its broadcast relationship with both CBS and Showtime if allowed to.

Pro Elite was said to have some 80 fighters under various forms of contract when it closed its doors on Oct. 22. Silva’s heavyweight championship was never officially rescinded by the promotion after his appeal proved fruitless.

Though other Elite-contracted fighters like Scott Smith have contacted the promotion and been granted permission to accept single-fight assignments to compete in other promotions while Pro Elite’s direction is decided, Silva’s manager Davis said he has not had that same experience.

“There is no one in charge at Pro Elite,” wrote Davis. “All this talk of resurrection, although it would be great it is just talk. There are no events scheduled. Our agreement was that Antonio would be able to fight in other events, as long as they agreed, but there is no one there to agree.”

The 6-foot-4, nearly 300-pound Silva (11-1) burst onto the scene in March 2005. Nearly all of the towering Brazilian’s victories have come by way of his fists, with his only loss against fellow heavy hitter Eric Pele at a Bodog Fight event in December 2006. Silva went 4-0 in EliteXC’s heavyweight ranks, earning a notable split decision win over former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez last February.

Nagao (7-1, 2 NC) is best known for his fateful New Year’s Eve 2005 staredown with Heath Herring, in which the Texan flattened Nakao for kissing him on the lips prior to the bout.
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