The year-long suspension handed down to the first and only Elite XC Heavyweight Champion, Antonio Silva (11-1), following his positive steroid test in July apparently won’t keep the Brazilian giant from competing after all.
The Japanese promotion World Victory Road has signed "Bigfoot" to compete on its next Sengoku event scheduled to take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on January 4. Yoshihiro Nakao (7-1) — the man who Heath Herring infamously knocked out before their fight even started after getting kissed — has been confirmed as his opponent.
As of right now Silva is eligible to re-apply for a license to fight in the United States in July of 2009, but taking a fight in another country that doesn’t recognize the suspension is not going to look good on that application. In fact, he could face an uphill battle in the future with this move.
Reports have surfaced that the CSAC sent the Brazilian a letter claiming if he takes the fight in Japan that he's risking a permanent loss of license in the state of California. There have also been rumors that other commissions, most notably the Nevada State Athletic Commision (NSAC) - would follow suit with a similar penalty.
Silva was left with no choice according to manager Alex Davis.
From his recent email to Sherdog.com :
"Antonio has decided to fight, he really has no option. 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."
Silva is still claiming his innocence and hoping that his name will eventually be cleared. Since the CSAC has already heard - and denied - Silva's appeal, there's no reason to believe they'll suddenly change their minds.
Silva is risking a lot, probably too much, to take this fight. We won't know for sure what happens until he applies for another license in the states again icome summer 2009, but none of this sounds very good for Bigfoot in the long run.