Anderson Silva Averts Four-Year Suspension After USADA Ruled He Ingested a Contaminated Substance

July 18, 2018

Anderson Silva is expected to be cleared to fight again in November after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency ruled his most recent anti-doping violation was the result of his ingestion of a contaminated substance.

“USADA announced (Wednesday) that Anderson Silva, of Palo Verdes, Calif., has accepted a one-year sanction for his second anti-doping violation after testing positive for prohibited substances from a contaminated supplement,” USADA officials told MMAWeekly.com.

Silva tested positive for methyltestosterone and hydrochlorothiazide in a sample collected on Oct. 26, 2017, ahead of a planned headlining bout opposite Kelvin Gastelum in November of 2017. Methyltestosterone is an anabolic agent, while hydrochlorothiazide is classified as a diuretic or masking agent.

Following the infraction being made public, Silva said he was unsure of how he could have tested positive.

“Maybe the supplements I’m using is contaminated,” Silva told TMZ Sports, at the time. “I don’t know. I’m just waiting. Because obviously if I take these steroids, I’m stupid. Because I’m too old. I’m not at the start of my career. I’m [at the] finish.”

Silva appears to be caught up in an ongoing problem with a specific type of supplier in Brazil. He is the fourth athlete to accept a sanction under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy as a result of a positive test caused by the use of contaminated supplements purchased from a Brazilian compounding pharmacy, according to USADA.

Unlike retail pharmacies and drugstores, which receive their drug inventories from commercial manufacturers, compounding pharmacies prepare their medications onsite according to specifications contained in a written prescription.

Anderson SilvaIn this instance, the compounding pharmacy also produced and sold nutritional supplements. Although athletes competing in the UFC are repeatedly warned that supplements are risky and frequently contain substances not listed on the label including prohibited, as well as, harmful drugs, the pharmacy that prepared Silva’s supplement marketed its products as a safe alternative to mass produced medications and supplements and also claimed to utilize manufacturing processes designed to eliminate the possibility of cross-contamination.

Despite having previously served a suspension for an anti-doping violation in relation to his UFC 183 bout with Nick Diaz in January of 2015, Silva’s suspension was only for one year because it was determined that his recent violation was because of a contaminated substance. If no reduction in sentencing had been applied due to the finding that Silva’s positive test was caused by a contaminated product, the standard sanction for a second violation involving a non-Specified Substance would have resulted in a four-year period of ineligibility.

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“I am vindicated. The past nine months have been extremely difficult. I felt like my career and everything I had worked so hard for was dying and my future was hanging in the balance. I knew in my heart that I had done nothing wrong and fully cooperated with USADA during their inquiry to prove it,” Silva said in a statement to ESPN provided by his PR team.

“Today, I have a renewed energy. My legacy is restored. I can focus on getting back into the ring and the next chapter of my life after fighting.”

Silva’s one-year period of ineligibility began on Nov. 10, 2017, the date his provisional suspension was imposed. Silva will be eligible to return to competition upon the completion of his sanction on Nov. 10, 2018. 

Silva last fought in February of 2017, when he scored a unanimous-decision victory over Derek Brunson at UFC 208 in Brooklyn, N.Y.