Antonio Silva Claims Elevated Testosterone Levels at UFC Fight Night 33 Were Not His Fault

December 17, 2013
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Mark Hunt vs Bigfoot SilvaUFC officials on Tuesday announced that UFC Fight Night 33 main eventer Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva was suspended for nine months and would forfeit his $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus. Silva tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone for his Dec. 7 bout with Mark Hunt in Brisbane, Australia.

Silva, however, issued a statement defending the high testosterone level.

“Months before my fight I looked for the UFC doctor Marcio Tannure in Brazil, so I could start the hormonal replacement ‘TRT,’ which was authorized and recognized by a professional,” Silva wrote on Facebook.

Dr. Tannure is the medical director of the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission, which is charged with regulating many MMA events, including the UFC, in Brazil.

“I started the treatment and 2 weeks before my fight; I did all the exams required by the UFC,” Silva continued. “My testosterone level continued to be low, so I was recommended by the doctor to increase the dosage. Unfortunately my level increased too much and caused me to suspend. I only did what was recommended by someone trained, who understands about the subject. Therefore, it was not my mistake.

“I’m cool because I know that the mistake was not made by me. I never tried doing anything wrong for my fight.”

Generally, at the end of the day, the responsibility for such situations falls on the athlete, which appears to be the case here, regardless of what Silva says.

“Although [Antonio] Silva is on a medically approved regimen of testosterone replacement therapy, and had been in compliance with therapeutic guidelines on all pre-fight tests performed prior to the event, the results of his test on the day of the event indicated a level of testosterone outside of [the] allowable limit,” UFC officials said in a statement. “Silva has been informed that the elevated testosterone level is a violation of the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy and his Promotional Agreement with Zuffa.”

Silva’s Fight of the Night bonus money now goes to Hunt, and he must also pass drug test upon completing the suspension before he is allowed to fight again.

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  • Big Tuna

    No athlete NEEDS TRT! These guys act like its acupuncture or something.

    • b-soc

      Agreed 100%. If someone suffers from low testosterone, they wouldn’t be able to be the athlete that they are. Impossible. Often times low testosterone can occurr if you put it in your system so much that your body naturally slows/stops producing it……………….draw your own conclusions.

    • Rum Runner

      I don’t see what the big deal with TRT is as long as the athlete doesn’t go beyond regular human levels. Simple as that. That is what TRT is used for to keep people who for some reason their body isn’t producing enough to be within a normal level. I think it’s ignorant to say no one needs it without knowing there
      personal situation. If you have low levels of T there can be serious
      health consequences. If someone is taking it to elevated levels it ceases to become TRT. Then it’s the same as being a steroid abuser. I believe that Silva’s excuse could be true, but I think it was foolish to mess with his dosing so close to competition because finding your proper dosage is not an exact science, but found by trial and error. But his excuses don’t really matter much. Rules are rules.

      • Kbroesq

        First of all, they allow up to a 6:1 ratio (normal men have 1:1), so people taking TRT max that out and totally take advantage. And the problem is that just because you may have low testosterone doesn’t mean you must be brought up to the level of athletes so you can perform with them. Maybe you just can’t cut it?

        Apply this to other areas. What if I wasn’t smart enough to make it through law school and pass the bar exam? Should I go on a tirade about how people need to invent some kind of pill that allows me to ace law school and pass the bar?

        No, people would tell me, “well, looks like you aren’t cut out to be a lawyer!” And everyone would accept that as legitimate.

        I honestly cannot stand that this crap is legal. I forgot who said this, but I finally know the meaning of the saying, “the law is the great teacher.” When something becomes legal, people see it as legitimate just by virtue of its legality. They stop questioning it altogether.

  • Timothy Malone

    Unfortunately even if Silva’s story is true, the UFC has no choice but to punish him. There is no way to know if he is lying and used further testosterone supplements while knowing this could be an excuse. Live by the TRT, die by the TRT.

  • Dragon Kid

    Wow, Mark Hunt getting a $100,000 and more sounds pretty darn sweet. He won’t receive that amount again unless he becomes a champion.

  • Eric Tackaberry

    Does it not make sense that some people that go thru these crazy all out wars gain naturally elevated levels of testosterone?

    It stands to reason that in a situation such as the Silva/Hunt slugfest your own body would elevate it’s own levels as a natural defense mechanism, fueling the fat or flight instinct.

    • Stephen Quadros


  • Eric Tackaberry

    Does it not make sense that some people that go thru these crazy all out wars gain naturally elevated levels of testosterone?

    It stands to reason that in a situation such as the Silva/Hunt slugfest your own body would elevate it’s own levels as a natural defense mechanism, fueling the fight or flight instinct and response.

    • Mike mckinney

      I believe the commissions argument would be that their allowable range would cover any natural variance.
      It is my understanding that the limit is well beyond what is known as normal.
      Everyone seems to get out of hand with this “steroid issue” anyhow. People act like its a superman pill. Almost all of the PED’s have so much less effect that many think. I’m not saying any of it is okay. There’s just way to much credit given to the drugs.

      • Maddawgmar

        Correct, natural level is 1:1 testosterone to epitestosterone. Most commissions allow a natural increase of 4:1 to 6:1 depending on the commission. That covers more than enough of a natural increase do to the fight.

        • toom

          the natural is anywhere from 1.1 to 4.1 in athletes i dont doubt big foots claim that the doctors gave him an increase of more then they should have

          • Maddawgmar

            Thus I said a natural increase. A normal person produces 1:1, while some athletes will produce up to 4:1 naturally. But not all athletes, and I think some athletes will use TRT to get to the limit. Not saying Silva is doing that, in fact I doubt he is. He suffers from acromegaly, which produces over abundance of growth hormones, but those excess hormones cause reduced level of testosterone to be produce. I’m not sure if his acromegaly treatments would cause his testosterone to increase since it blocks the hormones. Maybe that’s why he is on TRT.

        • KbroEsq

          You’re right about the ratios that are allowed, but NOT about natural increases DUE TO FIGHTING. Levels don’t increase temporarily because you get into a fight – it’s not like adrenaline or something. The reason commissions allow more than a 1:1 ratio is because typically athletes have permanently higher levels of testosterone by virtue of their life style.

          Which makes all these athletes claiming low testosterone levels all the more ridiculous, by the way. If you’re an MMA fighter with low testosterone, chances are, you abused PEDs when you were younger. Am I saying it’s impossible to be an athelete with low testosterone? NO – But I AM saying there is no freakin’ way this many fighters have low testosterone.

          • Maddawgmar

            I don’t know why I put that, I may have been drunk. Lol. I know that. I do believe that Silva has low testosterone, because of his Acromegaly. It is almost certain for ppl suffering from it to have low testosterone due to the over abundance of growth hormones that he produces.

      • Informed One

        Not too much credit. It is like any physical attribute, the more skilled you are, the more difference TRT makes. Ronda could likely smash a lot of regular guys in the world, guys with T levels of the average fighter. Why? Because these regular guys are not skilled, but a male MMA fighter would be a different story. Not that she couldn’t, but i would bet on the guy. Skill multiplies the gain from TRT, which is why bigfoot still sucks. Vitor on the other hand….

      • Jane Smith

        330-1100ng/dl. The range is so huge.. that 40 or 50 points is not noticeable to the male body. The acceptable range is huge in the Endocrin society. If a player has a 9ng/dl and is fighting someone with “Low T” that means the levels are below 300ng/dl. That is a HUGE difference, and makes for an unfair challenge. The difference is like a 130 pound person fighting a 230 pound person.

        Its that big of a deal to have a similar T level.

    • TheCerealKiller

      No, absolutely not.

    • marcus miles

      Its a sex hormone not a sympathetic derived hormone for fight or fligh response such as epinephrine or norepinephrine.

      • Jane Smith

        Having sex immediately before a match can throw numbers also.. as T is elevated for 90 minutes after sex.

    • Informed One

      The vast majority of it is made when you are sleeping, so unless it’s during a KO, your theory doesn’t work.

      • Jane Smith

        thats actually not true. Levels are elevated after sports competitions, during and for 9 minutes after sex and early morning hours. Adrenaline also has an effect on Testosterone production.

  • lowlb

    Chael was busted for the same things after his first fight with Silva and the world just loved him for his performance.
    The UFC needs to draw their line and stick to it even if their poster-boys get busted.
    Chael has been lack-luster on regulated TRT.
    Bigfoot may have not known his levels but
    TRT is PERFORMANCE ENHANCING we saw this in the first Chael/Silva fight. The 2nd fight Chaels TRT was regulated and Chael was a different fighter. He barely won his Bisping fight on regulated levels.

    TRT is performance enhancing and the UFC should get real about it because the truth is out in the open.
    Or as long as Chael is doing well in the UFC they need to forget about the TRT thing because TRT made Chael.
    I believe Bigfoot, his doctors let him down.

  • Obi-Wan Granoli

    He f****d up. Man up.

  • El Gvapo

    How do I measure my own testosterone levels? Assuming my ratio is around 1:1, I’d be really curious to see how I felt if it was raised significantly. Would I be walking round wanting to fight all the men and bone every woman?

    • Mike mckinney

      The T panels can be a bit pricey. You could have your doctor do the panel. If your normal, and then take Testosterone it would likely not have nearly the impact than if you were to be really low.
      Everyone is different so their response to the medication can be different.
      You can probably just ask your doctor to do a testosterone panel. If your levels are near normal you’ll have a hard time getting testosterone. Some doctors don’t believe in giving testosterone to people who have likely dropped levels due to age, or weight. That is of course as long as they’re not unhealthy levels.

    • Jane Smith

      There is no 1:1 level.

      There is no such measurement in Endocrinology. The Levels are ranging from 20-1100. Females are usually 40-80, Males are usually 330-1100. It is a broad range, and being under the Male average of 660, substantially decreases performance and stamina, Below 330, and there are serious problems. A womans T level can fluctuate depending a lot of factors, but normally anything under 100 is fine. I wonder if these people test for Estrogen levels.. I can bet they dont.

  • james j

    Antonio, one piece of free advice, TRT is garbage medicine and it will continue to ruin not better your career. Train hard and drink water.

  • Informed One

    Ban it, period. If you cannot fight, too f****** bad. I don’t see the NFL giving leg amputees robot legs so they can play football. It sucks, the world is not fair, but if you are not physically able to fight, find a new job. Risking the safety of natural fighters just because some dude had bad luck in life isn’t right, especially when he was already caught cheating with cow steroids.

    • Kbroesq

      Don’t you know that if someone doesn’t have the exact same levels of chemicals in their body as other athletes, we MUST inject them with medicine so everyone is equal!?

      We wouldn’t want fans to actually respect athletes for using natural ability and discipline to achieve success.

  • Kbroesq

    It WAS your mistake because you decided to cheat (that’s right!) in the first place. You decide to use that crap because you want to claim your levels are low, be prepared to deal with the consequences and don’t blame other people.

    I had a lot of respect for Silva. Now he’s just one more cheater hiding behind the fact that this crap is actually legal. I’m so sick of hearing about this crap and losing respect for fighters.

  • Jane Smith

    Testosterone Levels range from 330-1100ng/dl. The range is so huge.. that 40 or 50 points is not
    noticeable to the male body, but 20 or 300 is. The acceptable range is huge in the
    Endocrine society. If a player has a 900ng/dl and is fighting someone with
    “Low T” that means the the opponents levels are below 300ng/dl. That is a HUGE
    difference, and makes for an unfair challenge. The difference is like a
    130 pound person fighting a 230 pound person or almost like a Male fighting a Female if the persons T has been low all his life.

    Its a big of a deal to have a similar T level.