'Bigfoot' Enlists Big Gun for Steroids Appeal

By Loretta Hunt Oct 9, 2008
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and his manager Alex Davis have hired world-recognized doping lawyer Howard Jacobs to represent the EliteXC heavyweight champion at a California State Athletic Commission hearing Oct. 22 in Los Angeles.

Jacobs represented former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk during his five-month appeals process with the CSAC, after the Minnesotan tested positive for Nandrolone in July 2007. Sherk’s sentence was eventually reduced from one year to six months.

Dubbed “The Athlete’s Lawyer,” Jacobs has fielded doping appeals for Olympic sprinter Marion Jones and Tour De France winner Floyd Landis, among others.

Silva, a native of Brasilia, Brazil, tested positive for the anabolic agent Boldenone following his July 26 victory over Justin Eilers in Stockton, Calif., according to results released by the CSAC.

The 28-year-old American Top Team member was suspended for one year and fined $2,500. Silva and his representatives immediately contested the allegations, which were based on two separate test results of the same urine sample handled by Quest Diagnostics and the World Anti-Doping Agency-approved Laboratoire De Controle Du Dopage in Montreal.

Silva’s manager Davis said his client could never take steroids for fear of fatality due to a pre-existing medical condition. Silva, who stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs close to 300 pounds, suffers from the chronic disease acromegaly, which causes enlargement of the extremities and face due to an overactive pituitary gland.

In June 2007, Silva (11-1) was denied licensure in California when an abnormal brain scan showed signs of a tumor. The Brazilian underwent surgery two months later to remove the tumor and fought twice afterward.

Silva, who moved to the Coconut Creek, Fla., two years ago to train with American Top team and speaks little English, pleaded his case to Jacobs through his management and coaches.

“I believe we will be able to show that [Silva] did not use Boldenone,” said Jacobs. “I have enough information, assuming the state athletic commission gets us the laboratory documents; I think I’ll be able to present a compelling case.”

Part of Jacob’s case may hinge on a clean sample the fighter reportedly produced shortly after his suspension was announced. Jacobs said the sample was tested at a “well-respected” laboratory separate from the two Silva’s initial samples had gone to, but would not name the facility. Boldenone is recognized for its comparatively longer half-life, which ranges from six months to a year and a half, according to numerous medical Web Sites.

“As soon as we could, we had an additional sample provided and it was negative,” said Jacobs. “There’s a variety of reasons we did it which I’ll get into at a later date.”

EliteXC reps have already announced that they will await Silva’s appeal before making a decision regarding the heavyweight title.
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