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 UFC 'stands behind' Anderson Silva but will be 'forthright' depicting 'TUF' removal

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PostSubject: UFC 'stands behind' Anderson Silva but will be 'forthright' depicting 'TUF' removal   Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:45 pm



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RIO DE JANEIRO – With “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4″ set to debut on April 5, UFC officials have committed to depicting Anderson Silva’s removal from the show with “total candor and transparency.”

“Obviously, we’re going to be forthright with the whole situation,” UFC Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Epstein today told MMAjunkie. “I think the only way to present it is to present exactly what happened.”

Epstein spoke with MMAjunkie at today’s “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4″ press conference at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium.

Silva, the former UFC middleweight champion of the world, was expected to serve as a coach of “TUF: Brazil 4″ opposite fellow Brazilian MMA legend Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. However, when it was revealed that “The Spider” failed a pre-fight drug test for his UFC 183 clash with Nick Diaz, Nevada State Athletic Commission officials “requested that Silva cease participation in the series,” according to UFC officials.

Unfortunately for the UFC, filming had already begun on the series, and 32 fighters had battled through their elimination round contests and teams had been selected.

Of course, the UFC is in charge of production of the series and could have easily instructed Pilgrim Studios – the longtime producer of the reality competition series – to get a little creative in their editing process. Epstein said that was never considered as an option.

“As I said previously, there’s only one way to address the situation: with complete and total candor and transparency,” Epstein said.

Epstein explained that with the NSAC in charge of regulating the bouts featured on the series, the company was obligated to follow the commission’s directive. But as for how the removal was depicted on the series, the UFC had complete control. Ultimately, Epstein said officials realized an honest depiction was the only possible choice.

Silva is expected to appear before the NSAC in the next month or two, at which point he’ll have a chance to explain a series of failed drug tests from both pre-fight and post-fight screens. In the meantime, the UFC promises viewers will see exactly how the entire process transpired.

“We are very hopeful that he can explain what happened here, but I want to also make it very clear that regardless of what the athletic commission decides, Anderson Silva has been an incredible champion,” Epstein said. “He has been an incredible representative of the UFC. He’s been an incredible representative of the sport of mixed martial arts, and whatever happens – and we hope him the best – but whatever happens, the UFC will be standing with him.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
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