After UFC light heavyweight Thiago Silva was arrested and charged with attempted murder back in February following a string of incidents that began with him allegedly forcing a gun into his wife's mouth and ended in a confrontation between the fighter and a SWAT team, UFC president Dana White said flatly that Silva would never fight in the UFC again. As of yesterday, though, he's back. What changed? Not too much as far as we can tell, apart from Silva's now ex-wife having apparently fled the country. This is just how the UFC does business.
It's worth reading the following police report, obtained by MMA Mania back in February, in full. It describes three separate incidents in which Silva is alleged to have threatened to kill his wife, two of which came after she had obtained a temporary injunction for protection.
In the first, he's said to have put a gun in her mouth and threatened to kill her. In the second, he allegedly sent a text message threatening to kill her after she told him to leave their house, where he'd turned up in violation of the injunction. In the third, he's alleged to have shown up at a gym where she was training and threatened to go inside and shoot everyone in the place if she didn't send out a man with whom she was having a relationship. This culminated in the confrontation between Silva and a SWAT team and his arrest.
Charges against Silva were eventually downgraded from attempted murder to aggravated assault with a firearm. On Thursday, as TMZ reported, the charges were dropped entirely. Why? "The victim was uncooperative," the Broward County Attorney's Office said, "and investigators determined that she has likely moved out of the country."
There's nothing in particular about the report above and Silva's ex-wife having likely fled the country that would lead anyone to the conclusion that Silva is the innocent victim of a misunderstanding here; not being prosecuted is, after all, a very different thing from having been exonerated. (Why the man identified as victim #2 in the report above isn't pressing charges, and how exactly a man can get into a standoff with a SWAT team and not face charges for it, are interesting questions we'll be looking into.) The UFC, though, not only immediately put Silva—a mediocre fighter who's repeatedly failed drug tests, for what it's worth—back under contract pretty much as soon as the charges were dropped, but ran an interview with White on their website yesterday where he said things that aren't actually true.
"When I watched it unfold on TV and heard of the charges, it didn't look good for Thiago Silva," White said. "But he was acquitted of all charges. How do you not let the guy fight again? ... He went through the legal process and came out of it untainted."
"Untainted" is one word for it, I suppose. Meanwhile, this essay by Sydnie Jones is a good, worthwhile read on sexism, misogyny, and domestic violence in MMA, which is run by dumb, awful people.
Photo via AP