As if the UFC heavyweight division wasn’t in bad enough shape, it now loses one of it’s top contenders. After a terrific bout against Mark Hunt, Antonio Silva has been suspended nine months and stripped of his $50,000 bonus after he failed a post-fight drug test.
With the suspension, any talks of a Hunt/Silva II have ended for now, and the bout will be marked as a no contest. Even though Silva has basically obtained gatekeeper status after losing twice to champion Cain Velasquez in a lopsided fashion, he can still help out in the division in terms of fights.
Even though there will forever be an asterisk beside what was probably the best heavyweight fight this year, the biggest problem is the fact the UFC will have one less top-tier heavyweight to put inside the octagon for the next nine months. Ranked fourth in the UFC rankings, Silva still remained relevant in the division.
Despite two loses to Velasquez, Silva has yet to be defeated against tough competition. He knocked out Travis Browne after taking advantage of an injury Browne sustained during the fight, and he then knocked out Alistair Overeem after being dominated by the faster man for the first half of the fight.
Bigfoot also had success before stepping foot inside the octagon. In Strikeforce, he TKO’d Fedor Emelianenko and only lost to rising star Daniel Cormier and Fabricio Werdum.
I’m not trying to milk the situation; the UFC heavyweight division will be able to survive without Silva. Matchmakers can work around the No. 4 ranked heavyweights absence, but things would be a lot easier if Silva was still in the line up. Matchmakers would have at least been able to throw him in the mix against other title contenders.