Anderson Silva’s defense that that a tainted sexual enhancement drug caused him to test positive for steroids at UFC 183 fell on deaf ears before the Nevada Athletic Commission.
Silva was suspended for one year and fined $380,000 by the NAC during a Thursday disciplinary hearing in Las Vegas. Silva’s suspension is retroactive to the Jan. 31 bout, which means he can compete again in February 2016. His fine includes all of his $200,000 win bonus as well as 30 percent of his $600,000 show money from that night. In addition, Silva’s unanimous decision victory over Diaz was overturned to a no contest. The motion for the punishment was passed unanimously by the commission. Silva will need to provide a clean drug test before he can be licensed again.
“I feel there’s some intention to here to use the product to come back from a devastating injury,” NAC commissioner Anthony Marnell said. “There’s definitely knowledge of what’s going on here, and we’re just playing games. And that’s my frustration at all this soft testimony.”
The consequences could have been much worse. The NAC’s stricter policy for failed drug tests does not take effect until next month. At that point, a first-time offender for anabolic steroids will face a three-year suspension.
Silva tested positive for two different anabolic steroids -- drostanolone metabolites and androstane -- during a pre-fight drug test administered ahead of his bout on Jan. 9. The former middleweight champion also tested positive for oxazepam and temazepam in a post-fight urine test administered on Jan. 31. Oxazepam is used to relieve anxiety, while temazepam is an anti-insomnia medication. In addition, “The Spider” again tested positive for drostanolone metabolites. Silva also tested clean in an additional out-of-competition drug test administered on Jan. 19.
The former middleweight champion denied ever knowingly taking steroids during the hearing, but admitted that the banned substances were in his system as a result of his use of a non-prescription sexual enhancement drug from Thailand that was given to him by a friend. Silva claimed that the drug was unavailable in the United States or Brazil.
Silva said that he was using the substance, which was equated to a version of Cialis or Viagra during the hearing, for approximately three months leading up to the fight, but that he stopped taking it on Jan. 8; he did not include this information on his pre-fight questionnaire because “I didn’t want anyone to know I was taking sex enhancers.”
“I had no idea the steroid was in there. I was taking it for the purpose of sexual enhancement,” Silva said.
Silva’s defense included testimony from an “expert” witness, Paul Scott, who received a liquid supplement in a “blue vial” that he tested and found to have contained drostanolone and androstane. He told the commission that it was identified to him as Cialis, although he was aware that it was not that official brand. However, Silva’s team did not provide written documentation on how the allegedly contaminated substances were tested. Scott currently works at Scott Analytics but also worked at a WADA accredited lab from 2004-2006.
Meanwhile, Silva did not deny the use of oxazepam or temazepam, both of which are classified as benzodiazepines. According to Ed Soares, Silva’s manager, the fighter took those substances as a result of anxiety before the Diaz fight.
At one point during the bizarre proceedings, Silva appeared to become frustrated with the translator provided by the NAC. Soares, then took a seat by the fighter to assist with the translation. Still, the NAC often elected to hear translations from both parties as testimony continued. The hearing was also interrupted on several occasions by music playing over the speakerphone.
With his victory being overturned, Silva’s last UFC victory came against Stephan Bonnar on Oct. 13, 2012. The Brazilian turned 40 years old on April 14.