As we reported last week, MMA standout Thiago Silva was taken into Broward Sheriff's Office custody on Friday following a violent lover's quarrel that allegedly ended in a SWAT standoff. The fallout for the Brazilian-born fighter has hit quick: The day of the arrest, UFC snipped all contractual ties with Silva. He's currently facing multiple felony counts for the incidents.
Over the weekend, both Silva's attorney and one of his alleged victims made public statements about the situation, the first peeks behind the official account we know now only from police paperwork.
According to the arrest documents, the incident began Thursday when Silva arrived at Pablo Popovitch Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy to confront his estranged wife, Thaysa. The BSO records note that the current Mrs. Silva is involved in a relationship with Popovitch. Apparently Silva was not happy about it.
On Monday, New Times left a message for Popovitch at his gym. We never got a call back. But over the weekend, the jujitsu guru commented about the incident on his Facebook page. The post seems to have been taken down or set behind privacy measures, but MMAMania.com posted the statement:
Concerning the incident that took place at Academy last night. During our evening class, at around 7:45pm. Thiago Silva was outside sitting in his car honking the horn non-stop. Thaysa went outside to talk to Thiago to understand what was happening and saw a gun. After that, I went to see what was happening and also saw that he had a gun. He seemed to be under the influence of some type of drug whether alcohol or drugs. My staff notified the police at that time, and soon after the police arrived. He took off and the police went after him.
Thaysa has been separated and living alone since December of 2012. Thiago has been charged with battery in the past and was seeing other girls and moving on with his own life.
It's very unfortunate that this had to happen, the last thing I wanted us to see Thiago in this manner. I wish him all the best and hope this will soon be over.
Silva's attorney, Scott Saul, also made his first comments over the weekend to a Brazilian news outlet. BloodyElbows.com translated and posted the statement.
Saul confidently explains the police overreacted to the situation, and Silva was simply too drunk and sleepy to comply with commands, not aggressively resistant. "It may be that what Thiago's wife said has been taken out of context, I don't know," Saul stated. "There were many people there at the time, many police, but they didn't witness anything serious."
"There is a big difference in how the prosecution accused him and the way he was arrested. Thiago was arrested on two attempted assault with a risk of death, but when we went to court, the judge held that there wasn't sufficient evidence to support such accusations. He was arrested, the case has not even received a number, and what really needs to happen now is that the state attorney must review the case and decide what are the formal charges."
"So far it is a claim; Thiago was not guilty of anything. He was not even officially accused of anything. The version that is in the media was given by the police report. To explain how it works in Florida, the attorney will take around 30 days to render a decision. So that's the problem now. I must do what I can to convince the prosecutor that, independent of the police recorded in the bulletin, things did not happen exactly like that. It may be that what Thiago's wife said has been taken out of context, I don't know. There were many people there at the time, many police, but they didn't witness anything serious."
"When I arrived, the police had blocked four blocks, there were helicopters, SWAT teams wearing camouflage uniforms, and they would not give us access to the spot. Eventually, I ended up staying in the same place where the wife of Pablo was with two of her friends, and the police, though, for some reason, needed to use these people in some sort of hostage negotiation. None of it was true, not even the police report. He didn't evade the police, not threatened the police or anything. He didn't resist the arrest. Even in the police report, the only thing they said is that it was up to them, and remember that he was very drunk when he was arrested, then Thiago was accused of showing his middle finger and getting back into the apartment. And I think what happened is that he was drunk and the cops were knocking on the door, he was asleep, opened the door to the police, and surrendered. There was no reason for this; they did not need to have him beaten, and even when we went to trial, they kept saying that Thiago was a professional fighter, but at any time he tried to use violence to resist on the arrest. Had he fought against someone, it would be different, but the fact that he is a professional athlete is not related to anything. It's not because he is fighter he is more dangerous than someone who is not."
"I cannot comment on that part [his UFC release], but I can say that he knows he will not fight in March, on behalf of a criminal case. However, I imagine that if we prove his innocence, the UFC will probably reconsider that position."
Check back with New Times for more updates.
Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Swenson.
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