MMA Fighter Thiago Silva Arrested in SWAT Standoff UPDATED

Categories: Crime

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Last night just before midnight, Broward Sheriff's Office SWAT forces surrounded a house in Oakland Park. Initial reports had it that there was an armed individual bunkered down inside. The situation wound down without any dramatic raid or shots fired, but the big surprise was the ID of the guy: mixed martial arts fighter Thiago Silva, a Brazilian brawler whose career has been marked by a hard-knocks upbringing overseas and controversy in the ring.

Update with new information from the police report, including past allegations of domestic violence. UFC has also responded to the arrest.

According to Local 10, last night's standoff actually began hours earlier, when the 31-year-old fighter made an appearance at Pablo Popovitch Mixed Martial Arts Academy around 7:45 p.m. Reportedly armed, Silva allegedly made threats, then retreated to his own residence.

The Popovitch's jiu jitsu gym is where Silva's wife, Thaysa, trained as a black belt. "[Popovitch] is the best coach I've ever had in my life," Thaysa told the BJJTimes.com in November 2012.

Both Silva and his wife are from São Paulo, Brazil. The former grew up poor in the city's favelas and began training in MMA at 18. His current record is 16-3 with two no contests -- the result of a pair of failed drug tests.

In January 2011, the Nevada State Athletic Commission overturned a Silva victory against Brandon Vera after authorities determined Silva's drug test sample wasn't human urine. A 2012 win over Stanislav Nedkov was also vacated after Silva tested positive for marijuana.

Silva's next fight is scheduled in March against Ovince St. Preux in Dallas. After word of the arrested leaked, UFC officials released a brief statement to MMAFighting.com:

"This evening, we were made aware of a situation involving Thiago Silva. We are in the process of gathering the facts and have no further comment at this time."

Court records show Silva was taken into custody on charges of aggravated battery and resisting a police officer. Broward court records indicate a Thiago Silva has been cited twice before in 2010 and 2011 for misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.


On Friday morning, BSO released new details on the incident, including the background on the martial strife that led to yesterday's standoff.

According to the arrest affidavit, Silva and his wife of 13 years have been separated since December 2012. During the split, Thaysa Silva stayed in the couple's Oakland Park residence.

Fast forward to January 30, 2014: BSO were called to the resident for a possible domestic incident. Upon arrival, deputies found Thaysa Silva "visibly shaking and sobbing uncontrollably;" she explained she and her husband had been fighting "over accusations of an extramarital affair." Silva allegedly pushed her wife against a sofa, grabbed a silver colored pistol, and jammed the barrel in her mouth. He said he was going to kill her.

He then fled the scene, and Thaysa filed a temporary injunction against her husband for protection.

On Wednesday, Thaysa came home to find Silva inside. She told him to leave, mentioning the protective injunction. He refused for awhile, then left. Not long after, Silva allegedly sent his wife a text message in Portuguese. "I am gonna fuck you up and you are going to die," the text read, according to the BSO affidavit. "I am going to hire someone to kill you and I am gonna move my girlfriend in." Thaysa called police, and a detective took her statement.

Yesterday, around 7:44 p.m., Thaysa was working out at Popovitch Mixed Martial Arts Academy, a gym owned by Pablo Popovitch, with whom Thaysa was involved in a romantic relationship, according to BSO. She watched from the window as Silva's Dodge Charger pulled up. When she went outside, he rolled the car window down. She could tell he was intoxicated. He pointed a black Glock.

"You have ten seconds to bring Pablo outside," he said, according to the documents. "if he does not come out, I will go in the gym and start shooting everyone."

When Popovitch appeared, Silva "threatened to kill both." They ran inside to call police. Silva drove off.

Alert to the situation, BSO deputies went to his house. He arrived. More backup arrived before the deputies got on a PA system to demand Silva come out. He flipped them off, then went back inside. The SWAT team was called in. This time, Silva responded to the commands to leave the residence, but refused to comply with other orders. He was tazered and taken into custody at 11:12 p.m.

This morning Silva appeared in court. He was denied bail.

On Friday afternoon, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) announced on their web site they've cut Silva loose.

"The Ultimate Fighting Championship has terminated the contract of Thiago Silva, effective immediately."

Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Swenson.




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