Follow Knuckle Junkies

Staff | Knuckle Junkies graphic

Gladiator main event announcement

By Brett Auten | Knuckle Junkies

One half of the main event for the upcoming Gladiator pro-only event in October has been finalized.

It was announced Friday that Thiago Silva will make his return to mixed martial arts in the headline bout of the October 10 event at the Family Arena.

Gladiator is the professional division of amateur-based Fight Hard MMA. Fight Hard MMA president Kenny Nowling reported that Silva signed a multi-fight deal and will be the face of Gladiator.

"Thiago is a guy who has turned his life around," Fight Hard president Kenny Nowling said."We believe in second chances and we're thrilled with the opportunity to have Thiago fight for Gladiator. We believe his best years are ahead of him."

Knuckle Junkies is expected confirmation from the Blackzillians' and Authentic Sports Management's Josh Husak later today.

Also headline-worthy is the return of Steve Berger. Berger, a true St. Louis mixed martial arts legend, will return to action against Sean Huffman and hasn't seen action since April of 2012. Berger's last fight a KO loss to Scott Cleve sent the journeyman fighter into retirement. Those around the Berger camp have felt his itch to get back into the cage.

Kain Royer will handle the matchmaking duties for Gladiator as well as Fight Hard.

Among the additional fighters expecting to compete or in talks of being on the professional-only card include: Lugi Fioravanti, Sal Woods, Lucas Lopes, Lucas Gwaltney, Michelle Pearce and others, including a handful from the Florida-based Blackzillian team.

Silva comes with a checkered and somewhat infamous past.

The closest he has gotten to a fight this year came in July at World Series of Fighting 22. Clifford Starks had to replace Silva in a bout against Mike Kyle because Silva was ruled ineligible to compete by the Nevada Athletic Commission in July due to a previous suspension he served in the state following a bout with Brandon Vera at UFC 125 where the Brazilian turned in a falsified urine sample. Silva was scheduled to follow up with the NAC at a hearing in August.

The full fight card will be next week exclusively here at