It’s never fun to see a hero fall, yet that’s pretty much exactly what has happened to Wanderlei Sila, otherwise known as the Axe Murderer. Long a fan favourite to many who followed his career in Pride and the UFC — especially given his fan friendly, berserker fight style — Silva’s fall from grace was almost immediate after Chael Sonnen broke the news that his scheduled opponent had fled from a drug test leading up to their UFC 175 bout.

Of course, Sonnen later failed a drug test, several in fact, of his own. Yet while Sonnen came clean and owned up to a history of skirting the rules, Wanderlei stonewalled before finally admitting to taking a banned diuretic. In what was quite the head-scratcher prior to it overstepping its bounds following Nick Diaz’s most recent drug test failure for weed, the Nevada Athletic Commission proceeded to suspended Silva from active competition for life, despite it being his first offense.

The story didn’t end there, obviously. The Cliff’s Notes version reads as follows: Wanderlei took the commission to court, the courts ordered the commission to revisit the case. In the interim, Silva accused the UFC of fixing fights, offered zero evidence, and this past week offered a public apology. In return for the apology, the promotion released Silva from his contract with them, which it had used to previously blog an appearance by the fighter at a fan event for rival Bellator MMA.

Still follow? In short, once Silva clears up his troubles getting licensed in Nevada, he’ll be free to resume his fighting career, if he so chooses. Leaving the question of “should he?” aside, lets face it — he probably doesn’t want his career to end the way it did, in disgrace despite his last recorded pro fight being a spectacularly brutal win over Brian Stann, in typical Axe Murderer fashion.

And so Silva may wind up eventually fighting for Bellator, adding to their stable of notable names from yesteryear available for freak show match-ups or even title shots, depending on what Bellator’s got going on in any given division.

Yet the introduction of Rizin FF, and its initial two shows in January, have added a wrinkle to this story — as has Rizin’s VP Jerry Millen. The Japanese MMA promotion, which caused a stir when it lured Fedor Emelianenko out of retirement last year, recently spoke to Submission Radio about Wanderlei, and stated that he’d love to see Wanderlei Silva back in Japan. He was also open to a fight between Silva and The Last Emperor:

Sure, I think it be a great fight. I mean we’ll see if we can make it materialize, but I think it’d be a huge fight. I think people would love to see that. I’d love to see it even though I’m close to both of them. I’d hate to see friends fight, but hey, it’s a sport and friends have to fight because that’s just the way the business is.

Is another huge freak show fight on the (forgive the pun) hoRizin? Are Bellator MMA and Rizin FF now competing to see who can host the most insane freak show fights?

When you get right down to it, Wanderlei Silva’s best days are behind him, but he’s a warrior who won’t go quietly. If given the choice, he’d probably be better off returning to the land that made him a star, Japan, and facing a legend — which would also allow him to pretty much ignore the Nevada Athletic Commission, given Japan is not bound by anything they do. It would effectively end his career in North America, but realistically, that has been over since the day he fled a drug test.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.