Silva Mulls Over Sengoku Offer, Faces License Revocation

By Loretta Hunt Dec 3, 2008
Antonio Silva will have more than just his opponent to contend with if he decides to accept an offer from World Victory Road’s Sengoku to fight Yoshihiro Nakao on Jan. 4 in Saitama, Japan.

California State Athletic Commission Assistant Executive Officer Bill Douglas notified the American Top Team heavyweight by mail on Tuesday that Silva’s license could be revoked if he chooses to fight outside the state’s jurisdiction while under suspension for alleged steroid use.

If Silva fights, Douglas said he’d recommend that the commission vote to revoke the Brazilian’s license at a Feb. 10 hearing in accordance with California’s Business and Professions Code. The commission could agree to revoke Silva’s license for one-year increments until it votes to reinstatement him, not revoke the license, or alter his suspension.

A revocation will be filed with the National Suspension Registry recognized by the Association of Boxing Commissions, which is currently comprised of 82 commissions and regulatory bodies throughout North America.

Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer said a license revocation from another state would be honored in his jurisdiction.

In addition, any licensee that aids Silva in violating his suspension will be subject to disciplinary action from the CSAC, said Douglas.

Silva was reprimanded by the CSAC 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 fighter has vehemently denied taking the banned substance.

Silva, his manager Alex Davis, and world-renowned doping attorney Howard Jacobs appealed the fighter’s sentence at a CSAC hearing on Oct. 22 in Los Angeles, but five commissioners unanimously upheld the suspension through July 27, 2009.

Davis said the 6-foot-4, 280-pound Brazilian has yet to sign a contract for the bout with Nakao, though the matchup is being considered. Davis said Silva’s lawyers are also not convinced the CSAC has the power to further penalize the fighter outside of the Golden State.

“If Antonio does fight in Japan, it will be for financial reasons,” Davis told via email. “We should not forget, Antonio is innocent, and the CSAC has not given him a fair hearing, and also did not ask us to, or let us provide further evidence that could prove this.”

Douglas said he hopes Silva will sit out the remaining six months of his suspension, rather than risk a heftier punishment for fighting out of state.

“He truthfully needs to think about tomorrow and not today,” said Douglas. “He’s essentially halfway through his suspension.”

Silva’s manager Davis said his fighter might not be able to afford to wait.

“It’s easy to say ‘just six months,’ but that will mean a whole year without a paycheck, and having not done anything to deserve it,” said Davis.

In December 2006, the NSAC handed Vitor Belfort a nine-month suspension for his alleged use of the anabolic-based 4-Hyroxytestosterone following his loss to Dan Henderson at PRIDE 32 “The Real Deal” in Las Vegas.

Belfort fought two times for the UK promotion Cage Rage in 2007 before his suspension reached its completion, but was later allowed to apply for licensure in California to compete for Affliction “Banned” last July in Anaheim, Calif., after he resolved a $10,000 fine with the NSAC.

Kizer said the NSAC did not consider revoking Belfort’s license because it had expired at the end of 2006.

“By the time he fought in the UK it was a new calendar year, but that is an option we have as well, and we just haven’t faced it yet,” said Kizer.

If Belfort reapplied for licensure in the Nevada again, Kizer said the former UFC light heavyweight champion would be required to address the commission at a hearing first.

Silva’s manager Davis believes the real issue lies with the commission’s handling of the fighter’s case, including its testing procedures and appeals process.

“You know, the CSAC’s errors have become public, there is a whole list of things that were done wrong under this current administration, what has become obvious is that are many holes in the way they have been doing things, and it’s effecting honest peoples lives… it’s more like we are being forced to fight outside the U.S. for simple survival,” said Davis.

Douglas, who took the CSAC’s helm last week after executive director Armando Garcia resigned in early November, said an improved drug testing system will be rolled out on Dec. 11. The new testing will be handled exclusively in-state by the World Anti-Doping Association-certified UCLA laboratory used by the NFL, minor league baseball, NCAA sports, the Asian Games and Dept. of Defense.

“The process itself, the testing as well as the chain of custody, has been completely cleaned up,” said Douglas. “It’s gotten a lot stricter to the point where it’s going to be really difficult for people to successfully appeal.”

In Silva’s case, Douglas said he has to follow the letter of the law.

“Nobody [at the CSAC] wants to do this,” Douglas said. “It’s really going to depend on Antonio, and whatever action he chooses to do or not do on the 4th is absolutely going to determine what I have to do or not do on the morning of the 5th.”
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