Earlier this year Zuffa, the UFC’s parent company, sued Wanderlei Silva alleging Defamation and Business Disparagement after Silva stated that the UFC had engaged in “fixed fights“.
This week, as first reported by John Nash, Silva fired back seeking to dismiss the lawsuit. Perhaps the most interesting argument Silva raised was expanding on what he meant by ‘fight fixing’ by referring to the UFC’s alleged knowledge of Vitor Belfort’s apparent use of TRT prior to his light heavyweight title bout with Jon Jones with the motion reading as follows –
“In fact, Silva’s “cheating” and “fight-fixing” statements were geared toward the now public evidence that the UFC allowed fighters who had failed drug tests to compete and the practice of pushing fighters to compete when injured an unable to properly train….
It was recently reported on September 21, 2015, that in 2012 the UFC knew that Vitor Belfort had significantly high levels of testosterone, and it allowed Belfort to fight anyway.”
By elaborating that this is what was meant by ‘fixed fights’ the discovery process in the defamation suit can be expanded to include full scrutiny of the UFC’s “TRT Era” including what was known by the UFC about TRT, which athletes were using testosterone and the full details of any in-house ‘therapeutic use exemptions‘ handed out by the fight promotion and whether these exemptions were communicated to opponents.
The Zuffa lawsuit defined ‘fight fixing’ as the action or practice of dishonestly determining the outcome of a contest before it occurs. In a clever legal play Silva’s definition of what he meant will, at the very least, warrant serious consideration by the court. If the motion to dismiss fails, the UFC will need to consider whether opening the books via full discovery on the sport’s TRT era, which to put it charitably is an ugly chapter in the sport’s short history, is a price worth paying in exchange for continuing the lawsuit.
Silva’s full motion to dismiss, along with exhibits, can be found here – Silva Motion to Dismiss UFC Defamation Lawsuit