Everyone is a little on edge about the recent influx of domestic violence issues across professional athletics. The topic remains on the forefront of many media outlets, with much of the focus placed on regulation of this issue in the National Football League. In response to all of attention on the issue, the UFC has indefinitely suspended Anthony Johnson and completely released Thiago Silva from his contract (for a second time). Both fighters compete in the light heavyweight division.
The NFL has been under consistent scrutiny since the release of a video showing Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking out his wife in an elevator. Fox Sports Live, asked UFC President Dana White for his opinion on the position of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell,
“I don’t know all the ins and outs of what Roger Goodell did or knew or how it was handled but it’s definitely bad,” said White. “I can tell you this: I wouldn’t want to be Roger Goodell.”
White appears to be doing whatever he can to avoid being in Goodell’s position, by ensuring UFC fighters maintain a clean profile by keeping the fight in the cage and out of the home. However, no one has acted more quickly than Scott Coker, not more than a month after taking the helm at Bellator, he released fighter “War-Machine” immediately after hearing of the reports of domestic violence by his brutally beaten ex-girlfriend, Christy Mack.
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson
Johnson’s case was brought to the attention of the UFC when the mother of his two children filed a police report alleging abuse occurring in 2012. This comes at a really bad time for Johnson who is ranked number five in the division and is on an eight-fight winning streak.
The report was filed on September 5, 2014 and stated that in 2012 Johnson hit the woman in the face and knocked out two of her teeth. She also reported verbal altercations and that she believes she is currently being threatened by one of Johnson’s friends. The women subsequently obtained a temporary injunction on the advice of the police.
She also claims that she is in possession of a security video from her place of employment, where the incident occurred. This bit of information may have been the deciding factor on weather to keep or release the fighter. In the incident with Ray Rice, the severe public outcry was not realized until the release of the video. This looked bad for both Rice and the NFL. By releasing Johnson before TMZ can get their hands on the tape, they will have dodged a potential bullet.
Anther factor exacerbating the situation for Johnson is his 2009 arrest for domestic violence involving a different woman.
UFC Statement on Anthony Johnson: We are aware of the situation involving Anthony Johnson. As a result, we are suspending him indefinitely. We are using a third-party law firm to conduct a formal investigation and once we have more information, we’ll determine whether further course of action is necessary.
Silva situation also involves potentially incriminating video. Unlike the Johnson’s case the film, which was uploaded by his ex-wife on to youtube, does not document actual physical abuse, but does show Silva carrying a concealed weapon while another shows him high on cocaine. It does not, however, show the fighter actually using cocaine.
Silva was suspended a year for failing a drug test, but was also arrested in February of this year for domestic violence confrontations that ended with Silva holding a gun and a SWAT team surrounding him outside of a training gym in Florida.
The UFC re-signed Silva the day after the domestic violence charges were dropped against him. His wife had moved out of the country and was uncooperative with authorities. Once the videos emerged Silva was re-released.
UFC Statement on Thiago Silva: Thiago Silva was released from his UFC contract on Feb. 7 due to his arrest by police in South Florida. The charges against Silva were dropped by the Broward County District Attorney’s office and Silva was re-signed to the UFC earlier this month. Based on new information received today in the form of video and audio evidence, Silva has been terminated from his UFC contract.