MMA icon Wanderlei Silva has found a new home. As many expected, Silva has signed a multi-fight, multi-year contract to join Bellator MMA, the UFC’s biggest rival.
Silva is currently serving a three-year suspension after running from a random drug test administered by the Nevada Athletic Commission in May 2014. The 39-year-old is eligible to return to action in 14 months.
However, given Silva’s advanced age, the fact that he made his claim to MMA fame in Japan’s PRIDE FC in the early 2000s and Belltor’s relationship with RIZIN FF, it’s possible they go outlaw and let Silva fight in Japan in a co-promotion with RIZIN.
RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara hinted as much last week when he posted a picture on his Instagram of Silva wearing a RISIN shirt.
Although, if that’s the route Silva and Bellator choose to take, it will be nearly impossible to get licensed again in America after his suspension expires.
During Silva’s battles with the NAC over his failed random drug test, Silva retired from MMA and bashed the UFC, his then-employer, on the way out. He claimed to have “proof” that the UFC “fixes fights.”
In January, Silva retracted his accusations against the UFC and was granted his release.
Silva owns an extensive 35-12-1 (1 NC) professional record. “The Axe Murderer” has been seen since knocking out Brian Stann in March 2013.