Irvin Confirms Painkiller Use

By Loretta Hunt Aug 18, 2008
Light heavyweight James Irvin (Pictures) admitted to allegations of painkiller use prior to his July 19 UFC bout with Anderson Silva (Pictures) in a letter received by the Nevada State Athletic Commission Monday. Irvin said he took the medication without a prescription.

The Sacramento native tested positive for the non-approved analgesic painkillers methadone and oxymorphone, according to a post-fight urinalysis collected after his TKO loss to UFC middleweight champion Silva.

Irvin lasted just over a minute with the stealth Brazilian fighter during their 205-pound contest broadcasted live on Spike TV.

“In the days leading up to my fight with Anderson Silva (Pictures), I experienced some residual pain in my foot from a previous injury,” wrote Irvin in an Aug. 14 letter. “I made the extremely poor choice to take some pain medications that I did not have a prescription for. I realize this was an ignorant and dangerous decision.”

Irvin, 29, accepted the bout with Silva only days after re-entering the gym following a six-week recovery period from a broken foot. Irvin had sustained the injury last May in preparation for a proposed co-event bout against “The Ultimate Fighter 2” winner Rashad Evans (Pictures) at UFC 85 “Bedlam,” which was held on June 7 in London.

Irvin was temporarily suspended by the NSAC on Aug. 12 pending a separate disciplinary hearing that has yet to scheduled. Irvin plans to address the five-board commission in person. NSAC-administered suspensions for non-approved drugs or stimulants (apart from steroids) have ranged from six to nine months on average. Irvin also faces a potential fine, which would constitute a percentage of the 20,000 dollar purse paid in his loss to Silva.

Mike Roberts, Irvin’s manager, said a public statement from his client is forthcoming.
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