sports journalist

RYAN S. CLARK

By Ryan S. Clark

Staff writer

 

FORT LAUDERDALE  --  Each approach forced Thiago Silva to make adjustments.

 

He knew when to duck. He knew how to avoid. The former UFC light-heavyweight didn't fight Wednesday. Instead, he opted not to answer any legal questions in his first public appearance since his release from UFC following his February arrest.

 

Silva was in an armed standoff with a SWAT team at his Oakland Park home after threatening his estranged wife.

 

"I won't talk about my personal life," Silva said when asked if the standoff was a career distraction. "I'm ready to fight."

 

Silva, 31, was at the War Memorial Auditorium promoting his Aug. 29 fight against Mike Hayes for Fight Time 20. It will be Silva's first bout since October 2013 and the first since his arrest.

 

Dressed in black jeans, a black shirt donning an all-white drawing of Marilyn Monroe, Silva wore black sunglasses while speaking with the media.

 

Area media were told Silva's attorney would be at the press conference. Frank Smith, Silva's civil attorney, said all questions regarding his client's legal issues should be directed to Scott Saul, Silva's criminal attorney.

 

Saul was not present.

 

Once it was clear Silva could not and would not answer legal questions, a shift was made to discuss his return to the cage.

 

"I can say I've been training hard every day," Silva said. "I am ready to fight you know. What else can I say?"

 

Controversy has always surrounded Silva.

 

In 2011, one of his victories was overturned for providing a false urine sample. He was handed a one-year suspension.

 

A year later, he had another fight overturned after testing positive for marijuana.

 

The armed standoff was at another level. He is accused of pointing a gun and threatening his now ex-wife, Thaysa, because of her relationship with Brazilian jujitsu gym owner Pablo Popovitch. During a Feb. 5 argument, Silva, according to an arrest report, threatened to shoot students at the gym where his ex-wife was an employee.

 

Saul wrote in an email he's preparing for three Silva cases. The first case is over the allegations of Silva pointing a gun at his ex-wife. The second is an allegation of Silva sending threatening text messages and the third involves Silva allegedly going to the gym and pointing a gun at his wife.

 

"I have been taking depositions which can be a lengthy process," Saul wrote. "There is a lot more "lawyering" to be done before I'm in a "trial ready" status."

 

Silva has been training at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton.

 

He's stayed in decent shape while working with other fighters. Silva had a hand in light heavyweight Anthony Johnson's resurgence as he helped train the fighter in his recent win over Phil Davis.

 

Though it couldn't seen at the press conference, Silva does wear a ankle-monitoring device, which was visible when he trained with Johnson back in April.

 

"The presiding judge has been very fair about allowing Thiago to train, travel or fight," Saul wrote. "He's allowed to remove the ankle monitor prior to a fight."

 

Silva has fought around the world at opulent venues such as the MGM Grand in Las Vegas or the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. There have been the bouts in smaller arenas but those were still televised and had the UFC brand.

 

The comeback trail will start at a place so outdated with the only modern fixture in the cozy lobby being the ATM machine.

 

"I am going to fight hard," Silva said. "And I am going to do my best."

Silence shrouds Silva in first public outing

Sports  |  July 10, 2014  |  Page 4C

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