‘Thankful’ MMA Pro Fights for Freedom In Robbery Case

Trial begins today for MMA fighter Sergio DaSilva who is charged with robbing a bank in Astoria in August 2017. Photo via Facebook

Trial begins today for MMA fighter Sergio DaSilva who is charged with robbing a bank in Astoria in August 2017. Photo via Facebook

By David Brand

He’s just 7-9 in the octagon as a professional mixed martial artist, but he hopes to have better luck against his latest opponent: Queens County prosecutors.

Opening statements begin Tuesday in the bank robbery trial of MMA fighter Sergio DaSilva, who is charged with first-degree robbery while displaying a firearm and third-degree robbery, for allegedly sticking up a Citibank in Astoria on Aug. 31, 2017. Prosecutors say DaSilva stole more $44,964.

After the robbery, a bank teller told police that a man jumped over the teller window to where she was seated, told her he had a gun and threatened to shoot her if she did not give him money, according to the criminal complaint.

Surveillance camera footage allegedly showed DaSilva wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt with his face partially covered when he demanded that the bank teller hand over the loot. He was identified by fingerprints left on the partition glass that matched the prints he gave after a 2008 arrest, according to the criminal complaint.

A spokeswoman for the Queens District Attorney’s office said DaSilva pleaded guilty to a violation in the 2008 case. That case was sealed and the DA’s office could not share information about the arrest, though the information is available in the County Clerk’s office, the spokeswoman said.

DaSilva pleaded not guilty at his supreme court arraignment in January 2018 and was released on his own recognizance.

He has been active on social media leading up to the trial, frequently posting his opinions about National Football League playoff games, wishing his attorney David Fish a happy birthday and musing about his upcoming trial.

“Crazy to think this but tomorrow I start trial,” DaSilva tweeted Monday. DaSilva, who goes by the nickname “The Savage,” has 2050 followers and tweets under the handle @thesavage125.

Judge Leslie Leach will preside at the jury trial. Jury selection wrapped up last week and on Monday morning, DaSilva also tweeted his optimism that the jury will be impartial.

“I’m just thankful for a fair jury,” read a graphic that he posted on Twitter. DaSilva attributed the quote to rapper Beanie Sigel.

Since his arrest in September 2017, DaSilva has used social media to wage his bout in the court of public opinion.

“I got all the text, calls, emails, messages etc. thank you to my phenomenal lawyer I’m home and my attorney is working hard to clear this up,” he said on Facebook in September 2017. “As much as I would love to speak more about the allegations my legal team has rightfully advised me against discussing any details until the case is over.”

On Jan. 3, he posted a video demonstrating that his swagger extends beyond the ring.

“My attorney and I are very confident with how the trial is going to go,” he said.

DaSilva, who fought in the Bellator MMA promotion, is represented Fish, who describes himself as a “Mixed Martial Arts agent/manager; employment lawyer; trial attorney; law school professor and sports law faculty advisor” in his Twitter bio.

Fish did not respond to request for comment as of press time.

If convicted, DaSilva faces five to 25 years in prison.