Tapouts: UFC Signs Silva, Two Fail Drug Tests, Fedor Update & More

Earlier tonight, UFC announced the signing of former PRIDE Champion Wanderlei Silva from the Zuffa offices in Las Vegas, NV. In an article UFC.com announcing the signing, Silva said “Many fighters have a dream of fighting for the UFC, and as a champion for six years in Japan, my dream has always been to have the UFC belt.” UFC President Dana White added, “As crazy as this sounds, this is the pinnacle of my seven year career in this company … I’m so excited to have this guy under contract. He grabbed my arm and looked me in the eyes like one of his pre-fight staredowns and he said ‘I’m gonna fight so good for you, you’re gonna see the best fights ever from Wanderlei Silva.'”

Silva, 31, will fight in the 205 lb weight class, with his first bout at the December 29 PPV. According to Dave Meltzer of WrestlingObserver.com, he is expected to go up against Chuck Liddell, assuming the Ice Man beats Keith Jardine on September 22 and doesn’t get injured. Silva held the PRIDE championship in his weight class from November 3, 2001, through February 24, 2007, for the longest ever championship reign in the history of mixed martial arts.

UFC.com has also posted a video of the contract signing.

In other news, Meltzer reported yesterday that K-1 fighter Rickard Nordstrand tested positive for Boldenone (Equipoise) and testosterone (21.5 to 1 T/E ratio), while Zabit Samedov tested positive for Stanazolol (Winstrol V). Both fought on the Saturday, August 11 K-1 card in Las Vegas, and according to Sherdog.com, the fighters have 45 days to appeal the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s complaint.

Also from WrestlingObserver.com, UFC held a conference call on Thursday with White, Randy Couture, Gabriel Gonzaga, Josh Koscheck and George St. Pierre, where White said that he’s the reason the long-rumored UFC/HBO deal hasn’t yet closed, but that it is going to happen, with the first fight on the cable network taking place “Before the end of the year, I guarantee it.”

On the conference call, White also said that since there are year-long suspensions for failing a drug test, “You have to be a moron to use steroids.” White announced that Brandon Vera, who had one fight left on his contract, signed a new deal, and will be facing Tim Sylvia next, with Meltzer’s sources telling him that the fight will take place either on October 20 in Cincinnati or later in the year. He also said that if Fedor Emelianenko signed with UFC, his first fight would be a heavyweight title unification bout. Meltzer has reported that UFC made “a gigantic money offer” to Fedor, but the PRIDE Heavyweight Champion wants a deal that will give him control over who he fights, deals for his friends, and the ability to fight elsewhere. UFC wants complete exclusivity if they sign him.

Oh, by the way, there’s a new Dear Don up at IFL.tv. Just click it.

Finally, in the Wednesday Atlanta Journal-Constitution, there’s an interesting story on wrestler Kyle Maynard — born with a rare disorder called congenital amputation, with arms that stop before the elbow, and virtually having no legs — being denied by the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission to fight in mixed martial arts. He’s been training hard in MMA, Brazilian jujitsu and grappling, but because he would be fighting as an amateur, and Georgia amateur rules prohibit striking to the head on the ground, the Commission said it was too much of a safety risk to allow him to fight. Ya know, because he’d pretty much always be fighting from a grounded position. It’s a fascinating story, and perhaps we’ll see him fight professionally one day…